Chapter 1: Dinners at the Urech home
Huddled around the kitchen island in her Plano home, Misty Urech and her daughters prepare dinner on a Wednesday night.
Dinner time is sacred in the Urech household, even if it is organized chaos.
An assembly line of forks and knives to the soundtrack of high school gossip and inside jokes.
In the entranceway, their foster dog and one of its puppies pitter-patter on the hardwood floors.
“One day at a time,” Misty replied, when asked how she juggles everything under the roof. “Sometimes it’s one breath at a time.
Misty finds peace between the pages of a book. Dozens of them line the shelves of the living room. Leather bound. Hardcover. Tall spines. Paperbacks. Encyclopedias. Art books. Squeezed next to one another. No room for bookends. No need for them
The dinner table is where the Urechs unite to discuss their days and their lives.
No topic is out-of-bounds. No decibel is unattainable.
As they plan out their routes for the next day’s comings and goings, an empty dining room chair rests peacefully at one head of the table.
Misty and her husband, Bowman Urech, met on a blind date in Houston, at a bookstore.
He was an engineer. She was smitten. Before long, they would marry and bring four girls into the world: Julianne, River, Skye and Rayne.
Bowman was often on the road for work, as a respected professional in the oil and gas industry.
On May 6, 2019, he was in west Texas. In the late afternoon, 50 miles west of San Angelo, Texas, Bowman died in a car accident. He was 60 years old.
“We talk about it a lot, “ Misty explained. “We don’t make it a taboo subject. I’m not one to hide from it. It’s our reality. [The daughters] had to grow up really quick.”
Rayne found peace between the pages of a notebook.
Chapter 2: The notebooks
“If the house catches on fire, she will grab her notebooks and her cat — probably in that order,” Misty said.
Nearly a dozen of them, in a hard white cover, line the singular shelf behind Rayne’s bedroom desk.
“Specific notebook, specific pens she uses,” Misty added. “Just like her dad. He only liked a particular pen.”
Barely legible notes and drawings engulf nearly every page from top to bottom.
Formations. Strategies. Written by hand.
Because Rayne wants to become a football coach.
"I love getting up early and going to practice. I love coming home and watching film. I just love working on football. I love writing about it. I love talking to people about it. It’s all I do. It’s all I talk about. It’s my personality," said Rayne.
When asked about the notebooks, she replied, "I needed something a coach could hold and see and be like, ‘She knows football.' I could never walk into practice and be like, ‘I want to coach. Just let me coach. Please!’"
Rayne and her sisters grew up cheering for LSU because of Misty and her Louisiana family ties. They pull for the New Orleans Saints, too.
"If you had asked me three years ago, 'What’s a 4-3 defense?' I would've been like, 'a-what?'" Rayne joked. "But now I’m like, 'Oh 4-3? So basic.'"
Nearly a year after her father's death, Rayne's casual watching of football morphed into an obsession.
"Football she got from me but her way of organizing, seeing things, being able to look at a field and strategize and watch all the players and put all that in place -- she gets all that from her dad," Misty said. "When you look at her notes, you’ll see. She is, without a doubt, an engineer’s daughter."
Alan Klein vividly remembers seeing Rayne's notes for the first time.
“A spiral notebook full of defenses that she studied," Alan detailed, a teacher and head football coach at Haggard Middle School. "She wanted to call a blitz ‘Flower’ because ‘it’s still gonna be pretty.'"
Alan immediately recognized Rayne's passion for coaching and nurtured it by creating a spot on the team for her as a student assistant coach.
"While they’re practicing playing, I’m practicing coaching," Rayne summarized.
"She knew more than a lot of coaches I had been around," Alan admitted. "One time, she told me our linebacker has his eyes inside. The outside receiver is hooking him in, we’re losing contain and they’re running to the outside every time. And I was like, 'Wow, you’re right.' And I didn't even see it at that point."
Alan took on a mentor and father-figure role for Rayne, who was in eighth grade at the time.
"She wrote me this letter, at the end of the year, telling me I helped give her lessons that her father would have done, had he been around," Alan recalled fondly.
X's and O's are not the only letters Rayne cherishes.
Instead of posters or whatever teenagers use to decorate their bedroom walls, Rayne's room is adorned with framed letters from NFL and college football coaches.
Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn sent Rayne a diagram of one of his favorite blitzes. Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo shared one of his as well. And there's a letter from Saints head coach Dennis Allen offering words of encouragement.
"I love getting up early and going to practice," Rayne began. "I love coming home and watching film. I just love working on football. I love writing about it. I love talking to people about it. It’s all I do. It’s all I talk about. It’s my personality."
In a special spot on the wall, and in her heart, hangs a letter from Baylor football coach Dave Aranda. The former LSU defensive coordinator is, by far, Rayne's favorite coach at any level of football.
"So cool," Rayne shrieks, unable to contain her enthusiasm.
Soon, more letters will follow.
Chapter 3: "She's one of us"
"She’s part of our recruiting list of potential prospects," said Todd Ford, head football coach at Plano Senior High School. "She’s going to be popular. She’s going to be someone that’s wanted at the collegiate level."
College is still two and a half years away. Rayne is a sophomore at Vines High School (grades 9 and 10). Next year, she'll ascend to Plano Senior (grades 11 and 12).
"She's already had one [college] try to recruit her," Misty added. "She’s had several others talk to her."
After two years assisting at the middle school level, Todd elevated Rayne to the varsity level in 2022 to be a student assistant coach for the Plano Senior football team.
"She’s one of us," Todd declared. "She’s a part of our staff. A part of our program. And her family is as well."
"I was realistic with her," Misty acknowledged. "'You do know this is Texas? This is Friday Night Football. This is very much a 'boys club.' Is this really what you wanna do?'"
While she had fears of being taken seriously, Rayne accepted and embraced her new role. It was an opportunity to observe and absorb coaching in Texas high school football, which is more serious and intensive than many small college programs in the country.
"I feel like I have a lot to prove," Rayne started. "Not only to the people around me but to anybody. I feel like I represent any other female coach. And if there’s one bad female coach, they might not take the next one."
Rayne's dream job is to be a defensive coordinator in the SEC. Though, she may have loftier goals in 10 to 20 years.
"She knows it, she gets it and she understands it," Todd asserted. "It’s the beginning of a journey, the way I see it."
Chapter 4: Beating the odds
There are female assistant coaches in the NFL and college football such as Jennifer King, Katie Sowers and Lori Locust.
However, there has never been a female coordinator or head coach at either level.
"It is very rare," Alan nodded. "But you’re starting to see it more and more often and ceilings are broken... But we have to foster that."
While the odds may be stacked against her like books on her living room shelves, Rayne and her sisters have defied percentages since birth.
Julianne, River, Skye and Rayne are quadruplets.
Julianne, affectionately called Juju, competes in Special Olympics and rides equestrian. River plays volleyball and works in the athletic training department. Skye is a talented gymnast.
While the sisters have unique interests and personalities, athletics, genetics and the dinner table bind the Urech gals together.
So, if there’s someone to beat the odds as a female football coach -- Rayne Urech is ready to write that chapter in the history books.
"She’s trail-brazed the whole thing," Misty said. "I just drive with her... and the notebooks.