JACKSON — A mother of three and the wife of a football coach, Carrie Cook uses the early morning as her quiet, alone time. A time for devotion and catching up on the latest headlines, Cook’s life was changed by news of a woman, a family she didn’t even know.
On the morning of Dec. 6, Cook read about Amanda Price’s death in New Albany and found herself grieving for the family, and that carried on for the next week.
“That very minute changed my life,” Cook said. “I didn’t know her, yet I was grieving. A week later, I asked myself why I felt so strongly about this, and at church, a woman asked for us to pray for her best friend, who was Amanda’s roommate, and I knew then, that was my connection. That was my call to step up and do something.”
What Cook did in the coming weeks was organize the Mississippi Coaches’ Wives Association, geared to reach out to the many women who make numerous sacrifices and support their husbands in the coaching profession. Cook’s next step was to contact Coach Ron Price and ask for his permission to attach Amanda’s name to this organization and honor her with a brunch and an award.
“It’s unbelievable, because the Lord put it on her heart to do something of this magnitude,” Coach Price said of Cook. “Amanda would be blown away. To have her name attached to this award, she worked so hard to be a great coaches wife.”
The inaugural Sterling Rose Brunch was held on Wednesday at the Hilton in Jackson in conjunction with the annual Mississippi Association of Coaches convention. The women in attendance were motivated by several speakers, including Coach Price.
“I wanted the wives to hear from different speakers on the importance of being a coach’s wife, so we have a mother, a coach and his wife, along with Coach Price, showing the importance of being there for their husbands and lifting them up and showing the importance of their role,” Cook said. “Amanda is the perfect example of that, so it all came together. I’m just amazed at how it’s all come together.”
The significance of the brunch’s name comes from Amanda’s favorite flower, the sterling rose. From that, the MCWA committee, including New Albany’s Shonda Davis, created the motto “Strong as sterling, yet delicate as a rose,” an example of what each coach’s wife is.
Along with the brunch, the Amanda Price Award will be given annually to a deserving coach’s wife, which will be selected by Coach Price and his family. This year, in honor of Amanda, Coach Price and his daughter, Molly Addison, accepted the award.
“These women need to know how important they are to us coaches, and I know I couldn’t have made it without Amanda and the support she gave me,” Coach Price said.
“She was, above all, my number one fan. It’s a huge honor to have her name attached to that, because she never wanted to be in the spotlight; she just wanted me to know she was there for me, the team and the coaches.”
Along with t-shirts, the committee put together a book that will be updated yearly with letters of encouragement for the wives. This year’s first volume features letters from Amanda’s parents, Bobby and Cathy Cossey, along with Cook, Davis and New Albany’s Susan Kelly and Martha Frances Monroe.
The book opens with letter Amanda wrote before the Bulldogs played Lafayette in the third round of the 2010 playoffs and closes with a letter from an anonymous New Albany student. All of this was put together as a gift for Molly Addison.
“We just wanted to give something for Ron and Molly Addison to have,” Cook said.
The MCWA is still in the developmental stages, and the hope is to eventually have committees in each of the eight districts throughout the state, serving as an outlet for the many women in each area.
“This is something that should have been done so long ago,” Coach Price said. “Hopefully this is something that will carry on for a long time, because you can’t have a good coach without a great coach’s wife, and these women deserve the recognition. To have my wife’s name attached to this is an honor to me.”