In December 1998, while Propst was sitting in a deer stand just outside Eufaula, his cellphone rang. He hadn't even applied for the job, merely faxing a letter of interest when a school administrator begged him to do so. He says a Hoover administrator told him "that cannot happen." Propst also couldn't stomach the thought of letting down his children. He had been raised on a heavy diet of traditional family values, living life by the Good Book and avoiding divorce at almost any expense. After Tammy's accident, Propst didn't miss a single game or practice, driving six hours each day round-trip to visit his wife in the hospital and still be there for his team. Rush was going to stay with Tammy until all three of their children graduated from high school. With each day, the secret got harder and harder to keep. In 2003, despite the couple using contraception, Stefnie got pregnant. She and Rush talked briefly about whether they should keep the baby. Somehow, they would make it work."I was scared to death," Stefnie says. When Thomas Propst was born in 2004, doctors asked for the father's name to list on the birth certificate. As the kids opened presents on Christmas, Tammy says Rush sat in a chair by himself, acting almost as if he wasn't there. Yet, at the same time, he knew better."I knew it was going to crash and burn," he says. That fall, television cameras all but lived at Hoover practices. "I would sit there and think, 'Here is somebody who has always been in control. He needed an IV bag before each game and two IV bags after each game. Stefnie put a plate of green bean casserole in front of him. But on this night, the best-laid plans don't deliver. "Crazy on steroids," Sutton eventually comes up with. This is the complicated tale of how one man's single-minded pursuit of his own desires nearly cost him everything important in his life. As a boy, Propst yelled at the radio each time his beloved Alabama football team fumbled or threw an interception. By 2007, he had won five Alabama state championships in seven years at Hoover High School, just outside Birmingham, and was the star of a wildly popular MTV reality show that chronicled his on-field success. She eventually moved in with her parents and spent the majority of her time at a rehabilitation facility, relearning how to walk, how to talk and how to eat. But for Rush Propst, such a decision doesn't come easily. For five years, he had been juggling a double life, privately falling in love with Stefnie all over again while publicly staying married to Tammy. After a few months on the job, Propst hinted that he was considering leaving his wife. And if he didn't leave Tammy, he wouldn't need to face that. His parents fought through the ups and downs of married life but always stayed together. These were Rush's father's instructions, delivered to his son 30 minutes before he died. When Rush was home, he would sleep on a couch in the basement. He was fighting his ability to control anything and everything. And at other times, he'd convince himself that as long as the perception of what people see is OK, the rest of this he could live with. He and Stefnie had two more children, continuing down a path Rush hoped he could manage. "And you're going, 'Oh my gosh, this cannot be happening.'"The story was front-page news and water-cooler talk for months. Stefnie had to feed him through a straw and inject medicine through his nose. She couldn't believe what she saw."He was at a place where nothing I did mattered," she says. By the time football season arrived, Rush returned to the sideline to coach. On Thanksgiving, Rush sat at the head of the dinner table. A month later, his doctors told him the cancer was gone and wasn't showing signs of coming back. He has his own carefully choreographed method for culinary excellence, rotating the meat on and off the grill at various degrees of heat. Thomas, Mary Catherine and John David, his three little ones, racing their bicycles NASCAR-style around the family pool. Jeff Sutton, Rush's longtime offensive coordinator, hanging around the grill trying to find the perfect description of what it's like to work for Rush.The “He’ll (She’ll) Change” Trap By the time we are adults most of our relationship preferences are well established and are not easily changed.Besides, each of us longs to be loved and accepted for the person we truly are.Could you introduce yourself to our readers and quickly explain what you do?To get you started: You’re a dating coach with a lot of experience in the pickup artist (PUA) community. Instead, there is a man seeking closure and forgiveness, and a community wondering how to respond. -- Rush Propst had been told his meeting with Nick Saban and the Alabama staff would last an hour. Each word that would come out of his mouth would point to a singular goal: helping Alabama win multiple national championships. His obsessive pursuit of perfection would help him become one of the most recognizable high school football coaches in the country. "I'll put you in a car and we'll leave." But Propst couldn't do it. Then, in 1994, Tammy flipped her Honda with their two boys in the backseat. Numerous skull fractures and severe damage to the frontal lobe of her brain kept her in the hospital for three months. By the time they made it to Mobile, in 1997, Tammy was better. She urged her husband to prove his commitment to their relationship by putting family in front of football. He knew that by dialing those 10 numbers he'd be choosing not only football over family but another woman over his wife. At , he picked up the phone and accepted the offer to become the head football coach at Hoover High School. And no one else had any idea."I remember thinking, 'You're really, really messed up,'" he recalled. And you can't enjoy this because your personal life is so messed up.'"I didn't like myself," he says now. She knew football needed to be protected at any cost. Rush wasn't sure how Hoover would react to a divorced football coach, not to mention one who left his wife after a near-fatal car accident. When Rush's father died of cancer, he coached two days later, the same day as the funeral. And Rush tried to get away to Stefnie's house to hold Thomas as much as he could. Her friends told her there were rumors about her husband. Hoover kept winning; the national spotlight grew brighter; and Rush tried to manage his double life. The story mentioned Stefnie and their children, though not by name."It's right there in black and white," Stefnie says. That night, he stayed awake until 3 in the morning continuing to nibble the casserole, bit by bit. Change With the sun beginning to set on the six acres of tree-lined property he now calls home, Rush Propst stands over a grill in a sweaty Alabama football T-shirt and attempts to perfectly sear eight sirloin steaks. And he had spent countless nights obsessing over every possible question Saban might ask, preparing an answer for everything. "You don't have to walk down that aisle," she told him. And he couldn't face his mom, dad or anyone else from his hometown of Ohatchee, Ala., asking why he'd left his high school sweetheart standing at the altar. Their marriage had been a rocky one; his infidelities didn't stop. Rush was winning; he was the reigning Alabama Coach of the Year. As he sat in his home all alone, Propst couldn't pick up the phone and make the call. He admitted he was "disappointed" when he heard she got married."I remember thinking, 'I may have messed this up,'" he says. She's going her different ways, and I've allowed it to happen."A year before the Hoover job opened, Rush bumped into Stefnie at a Bennigan's in Birmingham. But as he walked to his car, he was furious with himself. You just beat the mess out of the only team that had a chance to beat you. I was denying everything."With a child now involved, those close to Propst begged him to get a divorce. She would tell Rush where he could find her, and, after the final horn would sound, Rush would turn around and point in her direction. They tried to see each other as much as possible, even if it was just a few minutes briefly in a convenience-store parking lot after a game. A few people in Hoover knew what was going on, but, for the most part, Rush and Stefnie kept to themselves. There, a column written by Hunter Ford insisted that the Rush Propst everyone thought they knew was a different man altogether. He took pleasure in the texture of something that wasn't liquid.
Mark is a smart, empathic guy with an interesting perspective on dating and masculinity, and I’m pleased that I’m able to give you an interview with him today.
On Friday, Rush Propst will lead a football team onto the field at the Hoover Met for the first time in six years. You're not thinking about what to do, what's the right thing to do, what's the wrong thing to do. She admits that her nonconfrontational, passive personality prevented her from pressing him further. Even if he was straying, she told herself, he would always come back to her."I always felt that. "I was wrong."In 2006, MTV's cameras came to Hoover for a reality show called "Two-a-Days." An estimated 46 million people tuned in each week for a behind-the-scenes look at Propst-fueled Hoover football. And no one watching at home had any idea the coach was living a double life."A fraud," Propst says. With each word that came out of his mouth, Rush paced back and forth faster and faster. Earlier that day, a newspaper reporter had said on the radio that he would be writing a piece about Rush Propst having a child out of wedlock. The school board then launched an investigation into accusations of grade changing, preferential treatment for football players and using an ineligible player in a JV game. That's when he thought about his parents and their final days. Or the fact that he couldn't do one single thing without assistance. His cousin confessed he had gone through the same thing. And the phone call from a former player having a tough time at college and looking for a few words of encouragement.
As coach of the Colquitt County Packers, he will head to the opposite sideline from which he built one of the greatest high school dynasties of the past quarter-century. The majority of time Rush Propst spent as the football coach at Hoover High School, he seemed to have it all. You're just trying to survive, I guess."To protect their secret, pregnant Stefnie stayed home. "A total fraud."At the end of each season, Propst would review his program in search of weaknesses. There were also rumors of an affair with a school administrator, a charge the investigators neither confirmed nor denied, but which Propst vehemently insists never happened. He told them he knew he had broken a lot of things in their world. And he would spend the rest of his life trying to fix it. If this was going to be the rest of his life, he thought, perhaps life wasn't worth living. After sharing the story of his darkest day, Aaron Acker switched the topic to football. In the middle of their talk, Rush's cellphone battery dies.
Thinking that you are going to shape your partner into your vision is a formula for relationship failure.
What seems like a little problem early on often becomes an irritating, insurmountable problem that erodes the foundation of the relationship.
This is a post written by Couple and Sex therapist Dr. Maybe it was around the time my mother’s third marriage ended that I became interested in the nature of love relationships, what made them prosper and what made them sink like the Titanic, taking down all but a very few survivors.