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Published October 13, 2012, 11:40 PM

Leia Bohl shares what it’s like to be the coach’s wife

FARGO - She’s known to locals by her radio name, Ryan Kelly, and she calls herself “the Bison coach’s wife.” But to her friends, she’s Leia Bohl – the smiley, kind girlfriend who babysits their kids and enjoys talking about shopping, makeup and hair products.

By: Anna G. Larson, INFORUM

FARGO - She’s known to locals by her radio name, Ryan Kelly, and she calls herself “the Bison coach’s wife.” But to her friends, she’s Leia Bohl – the smiley, kind girlfriend who babysits their kids and enjoys talking about shopping, makeup and hair products.

“Leia’s very down to earth and extremely easy to talk to,” said Jamie Traynor, who’s been Leia’s closest friend for three years. Jamie lives five houses down from Leia and her husband, North Dakota State University head football coach, Craig Bohl.

“One time, I loved a shirt she was wearing, and she just gave it to me,” Jamie said. “She’d do that for anyone.”

The 104.7 Popster FM radio personality and mom to 7-year-old son Elijah (from a previous marriage) assumed the role of the coach’s wife when she married Bohl two and a half years ago. It’s a role she happily accepts.

“I get the best of both worlds,” Leia said. “I get to be a wife and a mom and have a career that I love.”

Traynor said that Leia’s life now is “not so much about being Ryan Kelly as being Mrs. Bohl,” but Leia “enjoys it.”

Leia attends almost all of the Bison football games, both home and away. She’d like to bring her 8-year-old mini Yorkshire Terrier Liouxie to games at the Fargodome, but the coach hasn’t warmed up to the idea. “We’re not there yet, but I’m working on it,” she said.

When Leia first started traveling with Bohl and the team, she thought the trips would be vacations. She quickly learned that football trips are about football.

“I know the routine now,” she said. “It’s very structured, to the minute. Craig is very focused and dedicated to the team the entire trip. Craig is very structured; I’m not. He’s private, I’m really not. And I’m rarely on time.”

Leia says Bohl prefers to keep his personal life private, declining an interview for this story.

Part of coaching a Division I team means frequent time away from home. “Craig’s very busy, but it doesn’t bother me,” she says.

Leia surrounds herself with her best girlfriends and spends time with her son.

“I like walking my dog late at night and just having a nice glass of wine with my girlfriends,” she said.

Friday night at the Bohl household usually involves dinner cooked by Leia, a monopoly game with Elijah and ESPN Sports watching if Craig is home.

“My sweatpants are on at probably 4 p.m.,” Leia said. “Then I’ll run to the grocery store and think of something really fun – I love experimenting with recipes.”

Her current favorite recipe is a prime rib roast that she hopes to master by Christmas.

When it’s just the two of them, they typically dine out, listen to live music and take long walks. He bought her a set of golf clubs this year so they could both enjoy one of his favorite sports, but Leia said she’s not very good.

“My neck hurts thinking about it,” she said. “Craig told me ‘You golf more like you’re chopping wood. It’s not supposed to be that way,’ so that might be part of my neck ache problem.”

The Bohls make their seemingly opposite personalities meld because opposites attract. “Paula Abdul said it best,” Leia said.

Since becoming half of one of Fargo-Moorhead’s most recognizable couples, she said people often stop her and her husband when they’re in public together. Sometimes the attention can be invasive, such as when people sit in their booths at restaurants, Leia said, but for the most part, people just want to meet her husband because they’re Bison fans.

“It’s fun to get to know people, and what I enjoy the most is watching Craig interact,” she said. “I love how he completes my life.”

Leia said people would be surprised to know that when Bohl does have time off, he likes to go to Nebraska. He and his dad go to “the 80” – an area of 80 acres of land – to farm and fish.

“They bring their lunches and drive the pickup truck,” she said. “You couldn’t pay me to do that; it’s so hot and humid there. He loves it.”

In five years, Leia said she hopes to be doing the exact same things she’s doing now – being a wife, mother and friend, and working in local radio.

“I wouldn’t change much – 58103, I could live here forever,” she said.

Leia’s likes

Leia Bohl is a woman’s woman – she loves shopping, hair, makeup and quality time with her girlfriends.

“If I could do it all over again, I’d do something with hair and makeup, or trade in the microphone for a shopping bag,” she said.

At the Bison homecoming game, she said she ended up in a hair product conversation with a group of women in the ladies restroom. In Phoenix, she spent her day in the makeup section at Saks Fifth Avenue while her husband Craig Bohl was in meetings. The makeup artist’s phone number is now one of Leia’s favorite numbers to see pop up on her screen.

“I love it, I could talk about it all day,” she said.

What else does she like?

  • La Mer Moisturizing cream. “It is phenomenal. You warm it between your hands – my skin has never been the same,” she said.

  • Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. “After hearing about for years, I finally tried it. Love it,” Leia said.

  • Chanel foundation brush #6. “I never thought I’d care about a makeup brush, but it makes all the difference,” she said.

  • L’Oreal Professional hair care. “I have thin, fine hair and it makes me look like I have a lot more of it,” she said.

  • Oliver Peoples glasses. “I just discovered this brand,” Leia said.

  • Discount designer shopping. Websites like Gilt, Rue La La and Haute Look are favorites. Her latest find is a Chloe leather saddlebag.

  • NARS makeup.

  • All types of music. Her husband does, too, and his iPod is loaded with, among other artists, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kenny Chesney and Bob Segar.
  • Running. She runs half-marathons with her friend Jamie Traynor.

  • Movies. “My Sister’s Sister” made her laugh so hard her glasses slid down her face. She’s hoping to see “Perfect Pitch” soon.

  • Raw cookie dough. Sugar cookie dough is her favorite.

  • Chicago. It’s her favorite city after Fargo.

  • Sarah Jessica Parker. SJP is one Leia’s all-time favorite style icons.

  • Giving back. Leia used to be the communications director at the YWCA Cass Clay, and she counts it as one of her favorite causes. “Anything with kids and women – I just love,” she said. “The YWCA is a phenomenal program. I don’t think kids can be loved too much.”