Coaching a football team is a real family affair

Lenna Matukewicz: behind the scenes of the Redhawks football family
Behind the Scenes with the Matukewicz family
Updated: Sep. 10, 2022 at 5:00 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Coaching a football team is really a team effort.

In fact, a lot of the work happens behind the scenes.

On a pre-season Friday night in August, Coach Tom Matukewicz welcomed players to his home.

A way to any football player’s home is definitely through his certainly helps to get them in the door.

That’s just part of the story at the Matukewicz’s home.

“The best part is getting to have a front row seat to all of these young people making this transition in life, these kids, these young men,” said Lenna Matukewicz.

Lenna Matukewicz said she does what she can to make these players feel welcome in the Redhawks family, and the Cape Girardeau community.

“Every step of the way, we’ve been blessed with dear friends where we’ve lived, but Cape has been a special, special place for us,” said Lenna Matukewicz.

That made it easy for Lenna, Coach Tuke’s wife, to fall in love with all things Southeast Missouri State University.

“Tom and I together have made seven moves in 26 years which sounds like a lot, but for a football family that’s really not that many.”

Tom and Lenna met in grad school, and turns out she already had a love for the game.

“My love of football has grown over time, but I was raised in West Texas which is a very intense football area,” said Lenna. “But, man when you marry a football coach that has it in his blood like Tom does it really becomes part of my blood too. It’s our life for sure.”

And, she’s learned a lot over the years.

“You sort of get that through osmosis of just being around it all the time, not that I’m a huge student of the game but I have picked up a lot,” said Lenna.

What she really learned though, is how to make a big difference behind the scenes.

“It’s 100 percent my role and I love it,” she said.

One of her favorite things is inviting the players into their lives, and giving some of the young men a home away from home.

“Just getting to be a part of their journey and for me personally being a soft place to land for these young men on the ups and downs and all arounds in this really delicate and important part of the life, has been a blessing.”

The Matukewicz’s two girls have also grown up loving all things football.

“Our kids and they have gotten raised in this lifestyle,” said Matukewicz.

Truly making Redhawks football a family affair for the past nine years.

“We are just so grateful to be a part of this family,” said Lenna Matukewicz.

“We call ourselves the Redhawks Football Family, the RFF, and we love it,” said Matukewicz. “It has absolutely been a blessing to be a part of this community and especially the Redhawks.”