For the Wiren family, a week that began with the welcoming of their first child ended in mourning when wife Caroline died of excessive bleeding hours after giving birth.
Caroline Wiren, the 34-year-old coach of the USF SunDolls dance team, gave birth to a healthy boy named Clay at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital Wednesday, but never recovered from postpartum hemorrhaging that surgeons were unable to correct. According to the St. Petersburg Times, Clay was due May 8, but when he still hadn’t arrived, the couple scheduled an induced labor for May 15. Wiren was conscious after giving birth but immediately went into surgery due to complications. She was transferred to an intensive care unit and died the next morning. “We were shocked and stunned to receive this news,” said USF Athletic Director Doug Woolard. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Caroline’s family and friends. Her dedication and commitment to the SunDolls have meant a great deal, not only to the athletic department, but the entire University of South Florida. She will be greatly missed.”
According to the National Institute of Health, postpartum hemorrhaging accounts for 17 percent of maternal deaths. The ratio of maternal deaths per births was rated at 10 for every 100,000 births last year based on the same report.
More than a hundred students, including many of Wiren’s SunDoll dancers, joined a group titled “In Memory of Our Coach, Caroline Wiren” on Facebook.com and posted various comments of grief and remorse for her husband and new baby.
“In memory of Caroline…Remember all the good times we shared with our coach, whether you had the chance to dance with her one year or more…She was always hardcore but nevertheless stood by her dancers with her whole heart! We will miss her and will keep her family, friends, loved ones and little baby boy, Clay, in our prayers,” reads the group description. Three-year veteran SunDoll Kellie Reddick described Wiren as the “heart and soul” of the dance team.
“She was more than a coach to us,” Reddick said. “I, as well as the rest of the girls on the team, past and present, are very saddened by her death. She inspired us to be better people and always led by example.”
Former SunDoll Katie Hatch said making the dance team was one of the best things that ever happened to her, and attributed much of her confidence to the way Wiren pushed her.
“If she hadn’t chosen me for SunDolls, there’s no telling where I would have ended up,” Hatch said. “She pushed us to be our very best and would not settle for anything less. She was so much more than a coach; she was a mentor, a true role model and a friend. I’m really going to miss her.”
Wiren was the wife of Tampa Bay Storm player Nyle Wiren and a former dancer and co-director of the Storm dance team. The Storm wore purple, heart-shaped stickers on their helmets with the number 44, her husband’s uniform number, to honor her during Friday night’s game against the Arizona Rattlers. The SunDolls is comprised of 20-24 girls chosen each year to dance at USF football and basketball home games. Every January, a national’s team made up of 14 dancers is selected to compete in the Universal Dance Association National Competition held in Orlando.
Wiren was in her fourth season as head coach for the SunDolls and a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer cheerleader.
The funeral will be held May 26 at 11 a.m. at College Hill Presbyterian Church in Oxford, Miss.