Mike Zimmer’s wife Vikki Zimmer passed away in October of 2009, when Mike was the defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals. There was a very detailed and poignant story written about Mike’s experiences shortly after losing Vikki, and it detailed how Mike was trying to bounce back from losing her. The article was written by an ESPN writer, and it included details about how he’d be sitting in a coffee shop and reflecting on the couples he’d see and the older people who were sitting alone. The article portrayed him as an extremely lonely fella’ after losing Vikki, and it said he would dote over his daughters, vigilant about how they were holding up. It’s a tough thing to go through.
Mike and Vikki met at Weber State University while he was just starting out as a coach there. She was a ballerina who didn’t care a lick about football, according to Mike. Mike Zimmer’s wife married him within a year of meeting him, and Mike’s pal said he could tell they’d get married because of the way Mike was acting. Vikki instantly became Mike’s “better half,” as she acted like the softener in a cement mix, if you will. Mike himself has a kind of hard edge to his personality, and I can appreciate that. So sometimes it’s good to have a refined lady to reign it all in.
The classic player/coach wife behavior is what I call the “fireback.” That’s when someone badmouths the team in some way, and someone close to the team “fires back” at them. You can tell a lot about how that person relates to the players involved by how they fire back. In the case of Mike Zimmer’s wife, she would fire back with “You don’t know how hard they work!” This to me is very telling of what kind of person she was because she’s basically saying, “Hey, you should try and be empathetic to these people– they work very hard to play well, and you should appreciate that more.” It’s a very non-fan way to reproach someone who’s badmouthing your husband, and yet it’s also civilized and unaggressive. Mike and Vikki raised three children, and Vikki was the rock of the family that everyone could rely on and look up to.
(from ESPN originally from the Zimmer family)