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There's a Man Behind the Successful Coach

January 24, 1988|JULIE CART

They met as two of the few black students at Slippery Rock College in Pennsylvania.

They courted while she was playing basketball and field hockey. They spent their honeymoon at a softball tournament in Norfolk, Va.

The love story of Bill and C. Vivian Stringer is one of perseverance and commitment. And no small amount of role reversal.

When Vivian was teaching and coaching at Cheyney State, Bill was working toward his doctorate at Temple in Philadelphia. They lived in Delaware.

That's where Bill gained his reputation as Mr. Mom.

"I used to make a big loop every day," he said. "I'd take the kids to the sitter, go to classes in Philadelphia and make the one-hour drive to Cheyney to pick up Vivian. Then we'd go back to Delaware. I enjoyed seeing her success, as I do now. I'm flexible and I like being with my kids."

In Iowa City, Bill has the children fed and out the door before Vivian is up. He cares for them during the day. He assists Janine, the couple's handicapped daughter, with therapy. His job, as the exercise physiologist for all Iowa's women's sports, allows him to set his own schedule.

"I get the kids at night and have fed them before she gets home," he said. "She's completely dead when she gets home. We put them to bed and then she'll begin to look at game films. She's usually up until 1, watching game films.

"I have to remind her to eat. She simply forgets to eat. She starts the season at 120 and ends it at 107. Every year. People think she's sick, but I say, 'No, that's the way it always goes.' "

Vivian is grateful for the support from her husband.

"I have an excellent husband," she said. "I don't think many women are as lucky. We have always done things together. We pick up where the other one left off."

She was wooed by Old Dominion last year, and very nearly went there to coach. For Bill, it would not have been a difficult move.

"Whatever happens," he said. "We're survivors. I'll go anywhere and do well. I can live anywhere and do anything. We'll be fine."

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