Hilliard Davidson High School girls track and field coach Matt Beatty and Dublin Jerome girls track coach Randi Beatty admit their first encounter was far from love at first sight.

When they met in 2007, Matt was in his second season at Davidson and was in need of an assistant coach. Randi, a 2002 Davidson graduate whose maiden name is Stephens, was seeking a coaching position and applied for the Wildcats' assistant job at the urging of Davidson boys coach Jim Smith.

Matt hired his future wife to coach the sprinters, but both agree their working relationship got off to a shaky start.

"We really didn't get along when we first met," Randi said. "Coach Smith got him to hire me and Matt would try to tell me what I needed to do with the sprinters and I wouldn't. I would do what I thought I should do with the sprinters and they got faster and he didn't like that. We definitely had different philosophies."

After one season at Davidson, Randi decided to join the Jerome program in 2008 as an assistant in hopes of someday leading her own program. That opportunity came one year later when she replaced Shea Stammen as girls coach.

Matt and Randi remained in contact after she left Davidson and eventually developed a personal relationship. They got married in 2010 and have two daughters, Addison, 6, and Emerson, 3.

"It was good for us. It was good for me," Randi said of her move to Jerome. "I really enjoy being the head coach and it was a great teaching opportunity for me. ... It's been fun for us to coach against each other."

"I bought a condo thinking I'd never get married or have kids and next thing I know, a wife and two kids and two dogs later, I have to buy a house," Matt said. "We ended up hitting it off and started dating."

Both credit their in-laws for their support with childcare as they juggle teaching and coaching at different schools. Addison and Emerson also have become synonymous with both programs as they attend the Wildcats' and Celtics' practices and meets.

"Randi has done a great job," Matt said. "I respect everything she has done. A lot of people look at it as we miss out on a lot. However, our daughters get to come (to practices and meets) and they think they're rock stars. They show up and everybody knows who they are. They love it. They're always around it."

Matt and Randi have developed a friendly competition over the years, but they also share ideas on improving their programs and support each other's athletes.

"Sometimes it's a friendly competition, but more so it's collaborative," Randi said. "We bring our issues or problems or things we're considering to each other or things that went well. We come home and we talk about it and then we end up stealing some ideas from each other."

Both had athletes reach the podium at the Division I state meet last season in the 3,200 meters, as Davidson's India Johnson finished first in 10 minutes, 29.8 seconds and Jerome's Carly Davis placed sixth in 10:50.58.

Randi had a standout track career at Davidson, becoming the girls team's first state champion by winning the pole vault in 11 feet, which at the time was a state-meet record. She then competed at Indiana State before returning home to begin her coaching career at Davidson. She currently is an English teacher at Jerome.

Matt, a 1996 Ready graduate, arrived at Davidson in 2004 as a history teacher and became coach of the girls track team two years later. He also is an assistant coach for the school's football team.

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