NEW YORK — You think fall weddings are inconvenient for college football fans? Imagine being a coach with a daughter who has her heart set on a Saturday in late September.
That was Wagner coach Walt Hameline’s dilemma, when his youngest daughter, Kelly, told him last fall the place she chose as the site of her big day had few dates available — and the one she picked was Sept.
“How can you do this?” Hameline said was his reaction. “What are you thinking about? It’s football season. Ever since she was a baby she went to every football game.”
With the help of an old friend, Hameline was able to reschedule the game. Wagner, an FCS school in Staten Island, visits its old Northeast Conference rival on the Jersey Shore on Saturday, giving the Seahawks an open date on Sept. 20 and keeping peace in the Hameline family.
“It’s her wedding present and a lot of presents to follow throughout life,” Hameline in a phone interview Friday.
Hameline is in his 34th season as head coach at Wagner. He has a career record of 217-136-2, fifth among active FCS coaches in career victories, and is also the school’s athletic director.
Sometimes it pays to be your own boss.
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Last Kelly Hameline, 28, let her father know that she had found the perfect place to have her wedding — “The most expensive place you can find,” Walt Hameline said — on Long Beach Island, New Jersey.
Turns out, the bill was only Hameline’s second-biggest problem.
“There was only like, one or two dates [available],” he said.
Still, Hameline could hardly believe what his daughter was asking.
“There’s always been a golden rule in our family,” he said. “Once football season starts, my wife, my family, they go to the games and we do nothing else.”
Not this time.
After last season was over, Hameline reached out to Monmouth coach Kevin Callahan. The two had crossed paths and become friends as young assistant coaches in the late 1970s, and when Hameline became head coach at Wagner, Callahan was the first coach he hired.
“It was kind of funny,” Callahan said, recalling the conversation with a laugh. “In typical Walt fashion he goes, ‘Hey, hey, hey, you gotta help me out.’ My first thought was, what’s he up to here? Let me figure this out.”
Callahan was in the process of filling Sept. 20 on Monmouth’s schedule, but was able to move the Wagner game, lock it in and build the team’s remaining schedule around it.
“We had the flexibility to make it work. I was more than happy to do it,” said Callahan, who has been coach at Monmouth for 22 years.
So while Callahan won’t be attending the wedding — the Hawks play at Duquesne that day — he’s covered for a gift.
And Kelly Hameline, who lives in the Chicago area, will be at the Wagner-Monmouth game Saturday.
As for Hameline, he’s just happy his daughter’s wedding didn’t conflict with Wagner’s game last week at Florida International, an FBS school. He said Wagner was paid $240,000 for that trip to South Florida.
“Let’s get this straight,” Hameline said, “I wasn’t calling FIU up.”