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TUCSON — The story behind the greatest Twitter handle in college basketball — @abballwidow — actually begins with the greatest email username in college basketball: abasketballwidow.
Yes, you read that right: A basketball widow. The screen name belongs to Amy Miller, and it was created in 1998.
“One thing I give her credit for — that was when it was like, ‘What is this whole computer thing?’ That was her initial email address, and she’s never changed it,” Arizona men’s basketball coach Sean Miller says. “It would be one thing if she just did it, like, three years ago, but she almost understood it before it happened.”
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Amy first began calling herself, jokingly, a basketball widow, to friends back when she and Sean lived in North Carolina. Sean was an assistant coach at North Carolina State from 1996 to 2001 before leaving for Xavier, and then eventually Arizona. Amy remembers the latter part of her days in North Carolina first as a first-time mom, then a mom with another on the way … and an otherwise empty house.
“Sean was never home,” Amy says, laughing. “I was like a widow by myself all the time.”
So when it came time to create a personal email address, that’s what she went with — a funny phrase for a quick laugh. Even her husband found it clever.
“He thought it was cute when I first did it,” she says. “Now, he’s over it.”
The “basketball” part of the username became shortened to “bball” to fit into a Twitter handle when Amy eventually ventured onto that social media platform. She receives tweets from fans frequently, complimenting her on the uniqueness of the name.
Occasionally, she’ll get someone who gets a little freaked out. “Did something happen?” they’ll ask, and she explains that, no, Sean is fine, and she’s just poking fun at the fact her husband is rarely home. To Amy, it’s just a way to express the time spent alone raising kids and taking care of almost everything for the household when basketball season is in full swing. She means no disrespect to those who have lost spouses.
“Recruiting is crazy, and it’s also the time spent in the office,” Amy says. “It’s easier now because our kids are older. I just worry about me now.”
What’s especially funny about Amy’s username is whose handle it contrasts with: Morgan Miller, the wife of Archie Miller, Sean’s brother and the head coach of the Dayton men’s basketball team.
Morgan’s handle is @BballWife4Life, essentially the exact opposite of Amy’s. Amy laughs as she explains this detail: “She was supposed to be on my side!” Amy says.