As are most husbands and wives, Nick and Claire Gay are close.
Professionally, they are also very close - literally.
Not only are they both volleyball coaches. They coach at schools that are 15 minutes apart.
Claire is the new head coach in Aledo and Nick took over at the helm in Weatherford this season. When both of their teams tip off next week, they will be entering the season expecting great things.
Down the road in Millsap, Courtney Haney will take over as head coach of the Millsap Lady Bulldogs. She was an assistant the past two seasons.
Claire Gay comes to the Ladycats after much success at Decatur, where she was 324-111 in 10 seasons. Her 2013 team won the Class 3A state championship, followed by a 4A title for her 2014 team.
Gay is taking over for Kathy Goings, who retired after two decades and more than 600 victories coaching the Ladycats. Her teams made the playoffs every season and won or shared 19 district championships. Last season they were 39-9 and reached the 5A Region I final.
"I've got some big shoes to fill, without question," Claire said. "I'm so flattered they felt I could fill them.
"This area is a great place to raise a family. It felt right for our family to come here."
Nick Gay took over a Weatherford Lady Kangaroos program that, under coach Natalie Gonzales, reached the playoffs for the first time since 2009. They return every player from a 33-6 team that tied for the District 3-6A championship and lost in bidistrict.
"I am very excited to be at a highly competitive program and school district," Nick said. "The athletes have been really receptive to the changes that have already been made and will make the start our season even better.
"I am looking forward to putting my imprint on the program from the junior high level and all levels of the high school. That is only achieved by having the support of the district and administration to be able to do that, so I'm ready."
Nick, like Claire, said their coaching situation is almost the perfect situation for their family.
"We love coaching volleyball, we love being able to help mold young women into outstanding and productive teammates and leaders in the community and it's really convenient for our growing family with our 20-month-old twins, Emme and Riggins, being closer to family," he said.
Nick comes to Weatherford after turning around the Denton Ryan program in just two seasons. They were 8-22 and 1-11 in district the year before his arrival, improved to 20-21 in his first season. They were 30-15 last season, which included winning district and advancing to the area round of the 5A playoffs, their first postseason berth since 2009.
"The girls have some really high expectations for this season and I am going to try and help them achieve their goal," he said.
The Gays' teams will meet on the volleyball court Aug. 15 in a match at Weatherford..
MILLSAP WELCOMES NEW HEAD COACH
Courtney Haney came to Millsap at the right time, joining the program in 2015 as an assistant. She helped the Lady Bulldogs, with Denise Lee then the head coach, break a drought of a decade and a half by reaching the postseason.
Last season they repeated the accomplishment. Now, it is Haney's turn to see if they can extend the streak to three straight - and perhaps even advance past bidistrict.
"I feel so fortunate and blessed to have this opportunity as a head coach this early in my career since this is only my third year coaching and teaching in a public school," she said. "I was the varsity assistant here at Millsap my very first year in 2015 and it was very exciting to be a part of their success in going to playoffs for the first time in 15 years. I'm now ready to take this program even further and deeper into playoffs.
"My main goal is to show these girls that the sky is limit and anything is possible but not without hard work, sacrifice, and 100 percent commitment."
Haney would know a little about that from her own playing experience. She played at Peaster for the now-retired Dianna French, whom she said is a big role model for her life.
Prior to taking over the Millsap varsity, Haney coached junior high and was a varsity assistant in the program. She previously coached Performance Volleyball Club, and her college playing days included North Central Texas College and Midwestern State University.
"I hope to share my knowledge with my players and coaches while also growing as a coach," she said.
WEATHERFORD LADY KANGAROOS
Coach: Nick Gay
2016 record: 33-6, 10-2 in District 3-6A (co-champions)
2016 playoffs: Bidistrict.
Top returners: London Austin-Roark, senior, middle hitter, Texas Sports Writers Association All-State, District 3-6A Hitter MVP, signed with Texas A&M; Kaitlyn Rogers, senior, setter, 3-6A Setter MVP, signed with Texas A&M; Gabbie Huggins, senior, right side/outside hitter, first-team All-3-6A; Londyn Gray, junior, middle hitter, first-team All-3-6A; Carissa Barnes, junior, outside hitter/defensive specialist, honorable mention All-3-6A, signed with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; Reagan Hubbard, junior, defensive specialist/libero, second-team All-3-6A; Gracie Dorris, senior, outside hitter, second-team All-3-6A.
Notable: The Lady Roos return every player from last season's team that reached the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Coach: Claire Gay
2016 record: 39-9, 13-1 in District 6-5A, champions.
2016 playoffs: Region I final.
Top returners: Allegra Rivas, junior, libero, first-team All-6-5A; Sarah Haeussler, senior, middle hitter, honorable mention All-6-5A; Sydney Casey, senior, outside hitter, honorable mention All-6-5A; Aislinn Pool, senior, defensive specialist, honorable mention All-6-5A.
Notable: Aledo has advanced to at least the second round of the playoffs in 19 of the past 20 seasons and has won district in 19 of the past 20 seasons.
PEASTER LADY GREYHOUNDS
Coach: Autumn Threet
2016 record: 43-8, 8-0 in District 7-3A, champions.
2016 playoffs: State final.
Top returners: Kennedy Warren, senior, middle blocker, 7-3A MVP; Taryn Cast, senior, middle blocker, 7-3A Blocker MVP; Ciarra Wright, senior, outside hitter, first-team All-7-3A; Baylee Hull, senior, outside hitter, first-team All-7-3A; Morgan Fadden, junior, right side hitter, second-team All-7-3A.
Coach Threet's thoughts on season: "Excited about the season. We return four starters from a state tournament team, so there is lots to be excited about. We will bring on some new fresh faces in the setter and libero spots. Building team chemistry early on is my main goal. Very familiar with the district. Two new coaches at Millsap and Tolar."
Notable: The Lady Greyhounds are 89-10 over the past two seasons with back-to-back state tournament appearances.
BROCK LADY EAGLES
Coach: Mallory Daniel
2016 record: 19-19, 6-2 in District 7-3A, second.
2016 playoffs: Bidistrict.
Top returners: Daelyn Sessum, senior, middle blocker 7-3A Hitter MVP; Gracie Cooper, senior, libero, 7-3A Defensive Specialist MVP; Parker King, senior, outside hitter, first-team All-7-3A; Alyssa Lackey, junior, outside hitter, second-team All-7-3A; Bryland Barrett, junior, setter, second-team All-7-3A.
Coach Daniel's thoughts on season: "I am excited heading into the upcoming season. We were young and inexperienced, as a whole, last season, and the girls have worked hard, both physically and mentally during the offseason. I am looking forward to seeing the results of that work."
Notable: The Lady Eagles are seeking a 13th consecutive playoff appearance. Also, they reached the state tournament three straight seasons from 2012-14, winning state in 2013. So either Brock or Peaster has been in the state tournament each of the past five years.
POOLVILLE LADY MONARCHS
Coach: Kendal Bracy
2016 record: 22-10, 12-2 in District 9-2A, second.
2016 playoffs: Area.
Top returners: Billie Roberts, senior, outside hitter, District 9-2A MVP; Trinity Johnson, junior, setter, 9-2A Newcomer of the Year; Ryan Jennings, senior, middle blocker, second-team All-9-2A; Hailey Terry, senior, middle blocker/outside hitter, second-team All-9-2A.
Coach Bracy's thoughts on season: "We have versitle players with a lot of floor time under their belts. I believe we will have success in our district. The majority of this varsity group has been with me since my first year at Poolville. We've grown and matured together, and that will really show in how we operate this season. I see that maturity allowing us to find success in the playoffs as well. It will be a really fun season to be a part of."
Notable: The Lady Monarchs have reached the postseason in six of the past seven seasons, advancing to at least the second round four times.
MILLSAP LADY BULLDOGS
Coach: Courtney Haney
2016 record: 22-22, 4-4 in District 7-3A, fourth.
2016 playoffs: Bidistrict.
Top returners: Alerah Turpin, junior, outside hitter, 7-3A Newcomer of the Year; Briana Gray, senior, middle hitter, first-team All-7-3A; Madison Johns, junior, setter, first-team All-7-3A; Brittany Schnabel, junior, setter, second-team All-7-3A; Brandi Erwin, junior, libero, honorable mention All-7-3A; Sierra Herbel, junior, defensive specialist, honorable mention All-7-3A; Karli Hopper, junior, middle hitter, honorable mention All-7-3A.
Coach Haney's thoughts on season: "I am definitely excited about this season. Our athletic program has seen a lot of positive change in the last few months, and more change is coming, which will take our volleyball program to the next level. Although we are in a tough district with Brock and especially Peaster, I know we will compete and shock our opponents. We were fortunate to only lose one senior last year so we have a very strong team returning."
Notable: Millsap has reached the playoffs in back-to-back years after having not qualified since 2000. The Lady Bulldogs are hoping to win their first playoff match ever this season.