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‘We don’t have a social life. We don’t care about that.’

Adia Barnes and Salvo Coppa discuss finding balance on and off the basketball court
Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 4:05 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - They say life is a balancing act. That statement rings true for a lot of people, including University of Arizona Head Women’s Basketball Coach Adia Barnes and her husband, University of Arizona Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach Salvo Coppa.

Barnes was thrust onto the national stage last season because of her success on the court but also for being so open about being a mom to her two children, Matteo and Capri.

Barnes’ schedule is packed and each week is different. The day we went to her house, it was filled with meetings, parent-teacher conferences and practice. It certainly keeps Barnes and Coppa on their toes.

“You go to school to coach, you feel kind of prepared but you never feel prepared to be a parent,” said Coppa. “It’s something so new.”

The parents have found success off the court the same way they found it on the court, with the help of good teammates.

“We’ve kind of created a village of friends,” said Barnes.

Neither has family close to help with their kids, Barnes’ family is in san Diego and Coppa’s lives in Italy.

“It’s a job figuring out a nanny schedule, with our hours we need two people,” said Barnes. “Last week, we had official visits so the two people together worked 90 hours.”

The two admit, just like everyone else they’re not perfect parents. But they do the best they can to spend time with their kids, Coppa said, even during basketball season.

“I think he knows what we do, he knows we coach. I don’t think he understands what the demands are,” Barnes said of his son. “He’s asked us why we can’t pick him up or why we can’t drop him off.”

“One time we forgot Matteo, we forgot him at school,” said Barnes. “It’s a lot of moving pieces but we do a good job. It’s what we signed up for.”

Being forgotten at school is not what Matteo reminds him most of his mom.

“Celebrating when the team wins,” said Matteo.

And his favorite win, he said, was at the Final Four.

It is clear based on those answers, his parents don’t have typical careers. But, they’re still typical parents. His dad buys him toys more than his mom, he said.

“We care and sacrifice a lot for them. We don’t have a social life. We don’t care about that. We take all of our extra time and spend it with them,” said Barnes. “Sometimes that’s hard and you don’t want to go to the zoo on your day off.”

But, they do it anyway. Because in the Barnes-Coppa house family comes first. It’s clear to see by the photos that adorn nearly every wall and table in their home.

“It’s the most important thing to us,” said Barnes. “We would walk away tomorrow. If it had to do with my family and something was wrong, it wouldn’t matter.”

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