TAMPA — Stacey Heintz smiles when she says that two weekends ago, she and her husband, Chris, had their first weekend away together without the kids since their honeymoon in 2003.
Stacey is in her 12th season as an assistant coach with USF's softball team, and Chris, a former Bulls baseball standout, is in his first season as hitting coach for USF baseball, and their teams lucked out with road trips to Seton Hall on the same weekend.
"Our second honeymoon. Courtyard Marriott, South Orange," said Chris, busy preparing Tuesday for baseball's midweek trip to Miami as his wife prepared for a key home softball doubleheader against Notre Dame.
The two have been together 10 years, married for seven, with a history of balancing their relationship amid hectic, often conflicting schedules.
"We're used to crazy," said Stacey, 40, who left Ken Eriksen's staff for the 2007 and 2008 seasons after the birth of her and Chris' first child, Ethan, now 5; they have a second son, Sammy, 3.
"It's been crazy since we started dating, but it's definitely better having him here and being crazy together. We share the craziness now."
Being together was the reason Chris stepped down as a rookie manager in the Twins' minor-league system last summer for a chance to return to USF, having spent enough seasons away from his wife and children. When he was playing in the minors, Chris would leave to start his season and often not see Stacey until her season ended.
"It was tough, being physically absent for six months. You can talk to somebody on the phone as much as you want, but it's definitely hard, especially once the boys came into the picture," said Chris, 36. "The opportunity to come to work here, as much as it's still difficult, it's 10 times better than it was."
Both had successful careers in college. Stacey helped Massachusetts to four conference titles and a College World Series in 1992, and Chris, who played in 34 major-league games with the Twins from 2005 to 2007, remains USF's single-season record holder for hits (106) and RBIs (95), both set in 1996.
The two met at USF, at a birthday party for Bryan Peters, a former USF teammate of Chris' who was then an assistant baseball coach with the Bulls. Now at High Point, Peters remains a close friend and said their marriage is a testament to what two people can do to stay together.
"The divorce rate in our profession is phenomenally high because of the demands of the schedule," Peters said. "It's incredible to be able to maintain a relationship in any part of coaching, let alone both people busy in coaching. They're two very special people who are wise and mature beyond their years."
The Heintzes credit their head coaches, who are accommodating to their family schedules, and help from their own families. Chris' parents, Bob and Elsa, come over from Clearwater to help with the kids, as does Stacey's mother, who flies down from New York.
"It's not easy doing what both of them do," Eriksen said. "It's the old adage of what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. … They're two very, very good people at what they do, and we're fortunate. It's unique. It can be done, but it's a challenge and a half."