The Fishers’ are MSU staff members who met through sports and pursued the roles at MSU together after marriage. Zach Fisher is an Assistant Director for Baseball and Secondary Football and Kara Fisher is Assistant Director for Women’s Basketball and Men’s Soccer. Their love grew from the similarity of their career and passion in sports, however they had slightly different racial backgrounds that has brought more lessons than hard experiences, and as an interracial couple they have embraced all with open arms.
The Fishers’ first met each other at WAC (Western Athletic Conference) Football Media Day in April 2006. Zach Fisher recalls his attempts to get Kara Fisher's attention and his interest when he saw her, eventually they were united by confirming soccer stats.
“We would call each other on the phone and go through things,” Zach said. “And while we're waiting for the emails to go out there would be chit-chat or whatever, and get to know each other a little better.”
However, not so long after the connection was built, the Fishers decided to do long distance as they still worked in completely different locations: Utah and Denver. Long distance is a topic of interest for many, as it's known to be difficult. Kara Fisher believes due to the circumstances her long distance experience in the relationship was not as challenging.
“I think it's harder for people who started together and then will depart. But since all we knew was living apart, I think it was a little easier,” Kara Fisher said.
Moreover, what made it easier was their career paths and the overlapping of it that allowed them to see each other more from time to time.
“Since our work kind of crossed paths we would usually get once a month, you know, someone would be traveling, we traveled a lot,” Kara said. “So we would get to see each other about once a month. So it was a little more bearable than I think a lot of people deal with.”
“But yeah, I was thankful for our travel schedules kind of syncing up forever and thankful for technology that wouldn't have FaceTime back then,” Zach said. “But could at least phone call, and thankful for flexible bosses because both of us rang up huge phone bills.”
They had planned on applying for jobs, and whoever received a job offer in the others area had to move. Successful with their plan, the Fishers eventually got married in 2009 and lived together for years before getting engaged and married.
Sports was the similarity between the couple that bought them closer together, but the difference came in their cultural background. Kara Fisher was raised in the far west suburbs of Chicago and is biracial. On the other hand, Zach Fisher is from Montana.
“My hometown is a big city, but there's only 100,000 people in Montana; not much diversity whatsoever,” Zach said. “Whereas diversity is all Kara has ever known.”
Kara’s upbringing also consisted of her experience with interracial parents, allowing her to be raised to embrace the differences.
“I grew up in a pretty diverse town, and I'm pretty lucky that my parents' families were very open,” Kara said.
Kara’s parents got married in 1969, and at that time interracial couples struggled for marriage.
However, even after marriage, Kara states that they still dealt with issues of judgment.
“My mom always said people thought she was like the nanny when she was pushing me around in a stroller,” Kara said. “I look a lot like my mom, just skin tone you know, and so she kind of had to deal with those looks and prejudices growing up”
Kara’s experience with watching her parents and seeing the looks and prejudices her mom and dad had to deal with allowed her to be prepared for her own experiences.
“I learned a lot from them about how to handle some of those differences, or handle the looks that you might get, you know, because that's all they knew,” Kara said. “Their whole marriage was people questioning or giving them weird glances, like, ‘how do they belong together?’ so I think I was kind of prepared for it.”
Kara’s family was more familiar with the interracial marriage and love, on the other hand, Zach’s family had less exposure.
”There's not a level of nervousness that can describe how nervous I was about my grandpa meeting Kara,” Zach said. “I think I was more nervous that day than our wedding day.”
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Though Zach Fisher had his reservations, the outcome of the meeting between his grandpa and Kara went way better than he expected.
“He doesn't hug, but then he gave Kara a hug and then I'm like, okay, this just melted my heart,” Zach said.
When asked about the hardships that the Fishers had to experience during the relationship, Kara stated, “it's probably more adjustments than hardships”
Most of their hardships are rooted from the looks and standing out. However, in return it brought them closer together. The incident they said was the hardest thing they had to experience was an incident with the police in Utah.
“Kara was driving myself and a friend home from a night of activities,” Zach said. “And it was when she was visiting, so she didn't even know where she was going. We got pulled over and, like, the police and where we live kind of had an unofficial reputation of being kind of pulled over by, you know, by race, options, specific kind of a thing and everything towards a lot of the student athletes and everything like that.”
As Kara has shared her experiences and Zach has been exposed to the challenges of the Black community through their relationship, Kara states, “With everything that's gone on, there's things that you know Zach can understand … he's a good ally, but there's some things you just can't understand.”
“The Black experience, it's not an obstacle, but you know, there's some things I can't go to him with, because he hasn't been through any but he understands it, and he's supportive.” Kara said.
“Keeping the outside noise out and not worrying about what they will say, you know, like, you gotta live your truth and don't let what someone else might say stray your path.” Kara said.
“Just be true to yourself and be true to your relationship with that person,” Zach said. “And if they're your soulmate then they're your soulmate, great, it doesn't matter. Skin tone, background, diversity, whatever, it doesn't matter if love conquers all.”
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