Andy Landers’ wife, Pam, plays mom, provides support for the Lady Dogs

When student-athletes head for college, they’re usually away from home for the first time in their lives.

So, somebody needs to help fill a void in their lives because their families can no longer sit across the dinner table.

Pam Landers, the wife of Georgia women’s basketball coach Andy Landers, has been the surrogate mom for generations of Lady Bulldogs and helped ease the college transition.

“The girls are definitely a part of our family when the come in, and they stay that way,” Landers said. “It’s always fun to do things for them. Our house is always open to them whenever they want to just get away from school and the dorms. We’ve always tried to make it a home away from home for them. It’s so much fun to see them come in as freshmen and to grow throughout their years at Georgia. They’re wonderful young women coming in, but then to see them grow and move on and accomplish the things that they do, it’s just a lot of fun.”

Pam Landers might be the heart of her husband’s program.

She helps give the program a feeling of homeyness that the coaches can’t always supply.

Pam Landers plans to take some Valentine’s Day treats to practice today, “So they can feel special and loved.”

“I love Miss P (Pam Landers), she is absolutely the best,” Georgia senior Jasmine Hassell said. “Having her around means a lot. She’s so sweet and she’s our biggest supporter.

“We go over to their house and she treats us like her own kids. That’s special and we really love Miss P.”

Homesickness is usually the biggest obstacle to making the adjustment to campus life.

Incoming freshmen can come from far away, even foreign countries, so the Landers’ house gains at least a dozen extra daughters a year to sit on their couches and raid the refrigerator.

“It’s good to have that one person you can go to and talk to about anything and will love you unconditionally,” Georgia senior Tamika Willis said. “She’s seen us at our worst and she’s seen us at our best. She knows the game (basketball) too. So she’s there to lift our heads when we’re down and to cheer us on and that just feels good. She does everything. Sometimes she’ll dance just to get us to smile when we’re down. There are times when she’ll come on road trips and she’ll sit in the back of the bus with us players and sing with us.

“It feels good to know that she feels that much love for us that she’ll come out of her comfort zone and sing with us and participate in our little silly, goofy games.”

One of the biggest motherly duties is nursing the sick and injuries are common in basketball. Tina Taylor had five knee surgeries in her career, including four at Georgia.

“I spent a lot of time on their couch,” Taylor said. “With all these injuries I had, after those surgeries I’d always go back to her house and she’d always take care of me. It meant so much because my mom wasn’t in town so she became kind of a mother figure for me at Georgia. I always appreciated the love and support that she gave me. Although my career wasn’t the best career you could say, but being able to spend so much time with her and the rest of the people at Georgia was definitely the highlight of my time there.”

Pam Landers has spent her married life caring not just for her husband, son and daughter, but also taking in 12-15 basketball players every year and many of the former players still consider her one of their kin even after they’ve started their own families.

“She’s absolutely amazing,” Andy Landers said. “All of us are fortunate that I have a wife who cares that much about the program and cares just as deeply about the kids and how they’re doing. For our kids, it’s almost like a treat when she’s around and they can interact with her. I just think they enjoy that. I think that they know that she genuinely wants what’s best for them.”

It’s not always easy for somebody to connect with people who are younger than their own children. But Pam Landers isn’t shy about accepting offers to join the players when they’re killing travel time with games, dance contests and singalongs.

“It really helps keep you young,” Pam Landers said. “I enjoy being around those kids. It really helps you get an inside view of what’s going on with young people. It’s lots of fun. Both of our children are out of the house. One’s away at college and one’s starting her career. So it’s really fun to be around kids that age and kind of seeing the world through their eyes. It definitely helps keep you young.”

Blog: Second impressions: Winning field position, Maxey(mized) and using...

by Marc Weiszer

Some thoughts two days after Georgia’s rousing 45-21 victory over Clemson: – Clemson led the nation in tackles for loss last year—9.5 per game—and had much... Full Story

Follow marcweiszer

marcweiszer

Second impressions: Winning field position, Maxey(mized) and using Leonard Floyd http://t.co/EwKThDup57 #UGA

3 hours ago