Every Wednesday, Shannon Kelly will sit down with a coach's wife, a former Wolf Pack athlete or a woman in the Northern Nevada community to have a conversation over a glass of wine (or whatever drink they choose). This week, she sat down with Madison Corbett. They talked about becoming a first-time mother, meeting her husband Austin at Nevada, being a professional football player's wife, how she keeps busy while Austin is playing football, pursuing a career in nursing and some of Madison's hobbies, among other topics.
The first meeting
Madison met Austin on campus during their freshman year of college, but that was only the beginning of their love story. Former Nevada offensive lineman Joel Bitonio knocked on Austin’s door and told him there were girls downstairs and he should go and meet them.
"I was in the lobby of Argenta (Hall) and he was, like, 'Oh, I’m an offensive lineman,' and I was, like, 'Oh, you are? You play offensive line?' And he was just this little 6-foot-4, 245-pound little boy. And I had come from Texas where high school football was huge and we had all of these massive guys. So I kind of told him, 'I didn’t think you played football.' I kind of just broke him down instantly, and I was, like, 'I didn’t mean to! I’m so sorry!' I felt so bad and I don’t remember that as much as he does. He remembers that very, very clearly.
"So when we talk about it now he’s, like, 'That’s not how it went.' But that’s how we met. We didn’t really talk our freshman year. He wasn’t on scholarship, so he lived at home and I was in the dorms and then our sophomore year is when we started talking a lot more and we spent a ton of time in study hall (because) we had the same major. So we did a lot of classes together and homework together and projects together, so that’s kind of where it all blossomed and started."
One summer night during the Reno Rodeo in 2016, Austin proposed to Madison. They have been married for three years.
Staying the course
Austin was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the second round of the 2018 draft as the 33rd pick. Last October, he was traded to the L.A. Rams. I asked Madison how she's helped Austin maneuver the ups and downs of being a professional athlete.
“I feel like Austin is very even", Madison said. "He doesn’t really have too many highs or too many lows. He kind of just goes to work. He’s one of the most hard-working people I know, and of course as his wife, I’m his absolute biggest fan, so I think he can do no wrong. Cleveland was rough. Cleveland had its ups and downs and things we thought we were promised and that were going to happen that didn’t happen, and he would just go to practice every day and just grind through practice and come home and tell me practice was great, it went well and it went just as planned. I think my role as a wife is to just not talk about football as much as soon as he gets home or briefly ask about his day but just kind of be the escape because it is so much in the fall and it’s just so much for him to think about and do. Everyone is asking about how things are going and if you don’t have an answer because we didn’t always have an answer."
Madison said part of her role as his wife is to take his mind off football since it can be a 24/7 obsession.
"Being his escape has been my best role in this position, but it’s been hard," Corbett said. "It’s not been easy and there’s been emotional days, but he’s been very good at keeping me calm. Sometimes I think he might be better at keeping me calm than he needs to be, but I think we both play our parts and get through things. I’m supposed to be the one that’s supposed to be positive and say things are supposed to be fine and he’s the one that’s just, like, 'Just another day at practice,' and that’s how we keep each other even because I think sometimes I have to bring the emotional side into the relationship a little bit just to get him thinking or just looking at scenarios or different ideas or things of what could happen, so it’s a weird role to be in but it’s one I would never replace or take for granted.”
Reno to Cleveland to Los Angeles
When one door closes, another door opens. Shortly after Madison began nursing school in Cleveland, Austin was traded to Los Angeles, so the Corbetts packed up and moved nearly 2,300 miles back to the West Coast.
"Reno to Cleveland was an adjustment," Madison said. "Everyone told us they had terrible reviews of Cleveland and we were, like, 'Well, OK. We’re moving there, so let’s be a little excited about it!' And we ended up loving Cleveland. I would have never thought that would be somewhere I could see myself moving back to, but it was just kind of like Reno. It was a small town. I could get from my house to the stadium in my seat in 35-40 minutes. And we met some awesome players in Cleveland. We met some awesome friends through church in Cleveland, so it was just one of those places that although it started off our career a little bit rocky, the people we met kept us sane and happy and all of the things that you want in a place where you live."
Madison was a star volleyball player at Nevada who graduated with a degree in Community Health Science before opting for a nursing path post-college.
"I started nursing school and I was super excited about it and I was in the accelerated program," she said of her time in Cleveland. "I was, like, 'I’ll be done in a year and a half,' and we went into it knowing that anything can happen. We could be traded, we could be cut, this world is just super unpredictable. So I got 2 months into school, he gets traded to L.A. and I felt like my world was flipped upside down. But looking back at it, it’s the best thing that could have happened for him and really his career is what we kind of have to focus on right now, and if mine has to be put on the back burner for a second, that’s OK. But it did make it hard. I met some good friends in nursing school. I did love it. But we packed up at the end of the season last year, and moved out to L.A., and we’ve been here since. But it’s been so good for him, just football wise, the communication and the organization. It’s been really awesome to be here and be with the L.A. Rams."
In Madison's spare time, she enjoys playing and coaching volleyball and being involved with her church community.
Wine Wednesday with Madison Corbett
- Life in L.A. the last few months/becoming a first-time mother - 0:00
- Meeting Austin for the first time – 3:05
- Playing for the Wolf Pack and living in Northern Nevada – 4:51
- The proposal – 11:25
- Austin getting drafted – 14:35
- Maneuvering the ups and downs of being a professional athlete – 16:30
- Reno to Cleveland to Los Angeles – 19:01
- Pursuing a career in nursing - 21:27
- Favorite win of Austin’s - 22:58
- Best/worst parts of being a football player's wife – 25:30
- Staying busy while Austin is playing – 28:18
- Madison’s hobbies/favorite things – 29:30