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30 • About US Magazine - Cushing, OK • January 2016 •

www.cushingcitizen.com

The primary relationship was created, one party says, by tomfool-

ery. “Wemet in Spanish class,” JodieBarrett said. “Shewas cheating

off me,” her husband, Barrett Shupe, interjected. “He was helping

me,” she retorted. “She was cheating off me. I told her I would help

her if she went on a date withme.”

Love, Barbra Streisand once wrote, comes from the most unex-

pected places. The family Shupe has found unexpected happiness

in Cushing. They arrived in the summer of 2011, shortly after he was

hired to become Cushing High School’s next football coach. Five

years later, they are “well entrenched in the community,” Barrett

Shupe said. “We are Cushing Tigers,” said his bride.

Barrett Shupe and Jodie Wheat met when both were students at

Oklahoma State University. He grew up in Newkirk, she in Marlow.

He landeda coaching job inOologah, then, two years into theirmar-

riage, became head coach at his alma mater. “All the veteran guys I

calledwhohaddone it said the same things, ‘Youget reallybighighs

and really bad lows,’” Barrett Shupe said. “Newkirk was never my

destination job — I really don’t know what that is, anyway — but I

never envisioned ourselves would be there forever.”

“You talk about a crash course,” Jodie Shupe said. “Barrett was

coaching in his home town and not that far out of high school.” Per-

haps that, Barrett Shupe said, was the most difficult task. “People

don’t see you as ‘Coach Shupe,’ they see you as ‘Barrett.’ It was hard

on my mom and dad. Of course, Dad was on the fence line every

game andhad tohear it all. Somepeople cannot separate that what

we are doing is best for the kids. They see it as an attack.”

At O’Dell Field, all but Barrett Shupe hears it all. “It really isn’t difficult

for me,” Jodie Shupe said. “I don’t hear it, honestly. “It is hard for me

if I hear something. But Barrett’s the same coach this year that went

to the state finals last year. “I considermyself aprettypositiveperson

so it’s a little tough for me to near negativity.”

The Cushing football family photo prior to the 2015 season had a

record17 kids. Twomore, as 2016dawned, wereon theway. Among

the 17 childrenwas Peyton Carmin, son of assistant coachMike Car-

min and wife Misty. And a standout linebacker on the Tiger football

team.

“In some cases you get closer to one of your assistant coach’s kids.

As a staff, we try to be first to get on themand keep dad away. Then

you give themawink and a smile and let themknowyou love them.

This year, our last game, it was hard with Mike seeing his son gradu-

ate. It was special but it was also sad.”

Another member of the Tiger staff, Jon Yates, had a son, Matt, play-

ingfortheTigersasasophomore.“HesawwhatMikewentthrough,”

Barrett Shupe said. “He understood.” Barrett said the expansive

football family provides “the good, the bad and the ugly all at once.”

The Shupe suffered through a miscarriage in 2013, Jodie said.

“When we had the miscarriage, those are the people who showed

up. We are so close. We are kind of doing life together. This year we

had four babies and two on the way. You have to have your family

there because you cannot separate it.”

Rylie, the Shupes 7-year-olddaughter, said she enjoys going toTiger

games “because I get to see my friends.” She can be found hugging

her dadafter every game. “She and the other coaches’ kidswere un-

der the stands after we lost toDouglass last year. Theywere bawling

their eyes out,” Jodie Shupe said. “It may not have been because of

football but because of their friendships.”

Barrett Shupe has made many friends since arriving in Cushing.

The Tiger football program when he came to town was at one of

He’s about more than just football.

PH:

Submitted photos / Amy Blackmore /

Written:

JimPerry

Barrett Shupe:

It’s a family affair