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Heart For The Game takes college football lovers beyond the stats and post-game chatter and into the lives of coaches and teams. It deepens our connection to the game through stories only a coach’s wife could share, humanizing the sport like only we can do.

Combining athletic grit, warmth and a documentary style, the HFTG creative platform originates from our position as coaches’ wives. We frame the stories coming from an insider’s prospective. Our love for the game and for the coach are indistinguishable.

Go behind the bench to get your insider’s view through Heartfelt, Fun, Fashion and Food stories only a coach’s wife can tell. This is your official invitation To Love The Game Like We Do! 

Meet the HFTG TEAM. They have over one hundred years of combined collegiate football experiences among three founders, plus one gal pal, business executive extraordinaire.

Barbara Smeland

HFTG CEO, Barbara Smeland has had a brilliant professional career in health care. From nursing, to managing multiple operating rooms, to currently leading Kentucky One Health as Director of Surgical Services for two hospitals, Barb is the epitome of reliable, steadfast and organized.

She has been on the run her entire life (literally). She has completed 3 marathons, including the Boston and 15 minis. All while being married to a college football coach, Chris Smeland for 33 years, moving 8 times and raising 3 fabulous daughters who are amazing women, contributing to society in wonderful unique ways. Thanks Barb for being such an inspiration for all of us!

Marsa-52 X 77 Headshot for Bio

Marsa Truscott is our gal pal, business exec extraordinaire! She serves as HFTG Chief Branding Officer. Marsa “packed up her potential and all she had learned, grabbed a cute pair of shoes and headed out into the world to change a few things!” Successfully traveling the worlds of politics, music, image consulting and retail product manufacturing, Marsa has her finger on the pulse of marketing, branding and sales in today’s world.

Marsa rocks tremendous business acumen, has a great sense of humor, likes to have fun, and is definitely the woman you want on your team. She loves to travel and enjoys bringing along her famous circus-dog sidekick, Mr. Cooper.  Heart For The Game to the core, Marsa considers shopping, entertaining and gift giving tantamount to winning the National Championship. Her brilliance is greatly appreciated at HFTG.

Karen Head Shot Bio

Creativity pumps through the veins of Karen McElwain and her imagination never rests.  The beauty of color and texture captivates the attention of the born artist and HFTG Chief Creative Officer.  Her artistic eye brings a unique view to every project that lands on her desk.

After their first “football” move Karen decided to leave the business world of nine years and focus on her family, community involvement and launched a decorative painting business. To this day she stays in stride with her commitments and makes a point to find creative joy in the many projects that cross her path.

Karen is married to the head coach at the University of Florida, Jim McElwain “Coach Mac”. They have been together for over 30 years and have zigzagged across the country with their now three grown children experiencing great moments and creating fantastic memories along the way!

Julie headshot Bio

Working twenty-five years as a college basketball coach, CRO, Julie Holt, has utilized those skills to help map out some of the X’s And O’s for HFTG. Community service has also been a staple in Julie’s repertoire. A wide array of adventures from helping begin a youth football program, chairing Title IX studies, to co-chairing several auctions for both schools and the homeless, round out some of her experiences.

Julie has a renewed love for competition through Cross-Fit. She ranked 13th world wide in the Cross-Fit World Games. She also may currently be the only college football coach’s wife to have two sons playing on the same team where their father is coaching. She has been happily married to Nick Holt, associate head coach and defensive coordinator at WKU, for 25 years.




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