Ron Rivera, Stephanie Rivera on How They Started Dating

How pickup hoops brought Ron Rivera, Stephanie together originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

It all started in the summer of 1983, Washington head coach Ron Rivera and his Stephanie Rivera told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller.

Miller sat down with "the first family of football" for an interview set to air on Wizards Pregame Live (Sunday at noon ET) before the Wizards take on the Hornets. They recounted the story of how their relationship began on the hardwood at the University of California, Berkley.

"I was taking summer school my senior year because I wanted to get ahead in classes so that I could take an easy load during my senior football season, and she just happened to be on campus that day with some of her girlfriends that were working a camp," Coach Rivera said. 

"We talked and she said, 'Hey look, I'm gonna be in town next week and some of my teammates want to play pickup basketball. You want to show up with some of the guys. So I showed up with some of my teammates. She was there with her teammates and we played pickup basketball for three days."

At the time, Stephanie was a member of Cal's women's basketball team and Ron Rivera was emerging as a heavy-hitting, All-American linebacker on his way to becoming the school's all-time sack leader at the time. But Stephanie described a shy and quiet Ron Rivera that most of us aren't used to seeing.

"The first two days the most he said was screen right or screen left," she laughed. "He didn't say too much those first two pickup games, but finally he mustered up the courage to ask me out on that first date after the third pickup game."

"After that first date, we've been together ever since," she added.

Thirty-eight years later, Stephanie has gotten to know Ron's game pretty well, including his biggest weakness. 

"You know when we play a little horse, all I have to do is get to the free-throw line and I've got him," she said.

And Ron could hardly rebut.

"I mean I can shoot from anywhere around the key and inside the key and just outside the key," he said, "but I get to the free throw line and I've got no chance for whatever reason."



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