Stress and coaching has become a popular topic this week with Denver Broncos coach John Fox having heart surgery and Texans coach Gary Kubiak collapsing on the field during Sunday night’s game.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops knows the perils of getting too wrapped up in coaching all too well. His father, Ron, died after feeling chest pains on the sidelines while coaching a high school game in 1988. That experience has made Stoops more diligent about his health, especially during the season.
“Coaches need to be very aware,” Stoops said during the Big 12 teleconference Monday. “I lost my father on the sidelines at 54 years old. If anybody knows the hazards of it, it’s myself, my family. The reason why I, twice a year, am very aware of being checked thoroughly with doctors. Not that that can prevent it, but you want to use science, medicine and doctors as much as you can, as well as you can, because they’re available to us.”
While coaching – especially in college and the pros – is just about a game and not solving the world’s problems, it still remains one of the most stressful jobs out there simply because of the internal and external pressures by bosses, fans and the coaches themselves. Coaches often work 90-hour weeks, get very little sleep and either skip meals or eat poor food, which leads to many coaches being overweight. Every week, they’re under pressure to perform and their jobs are constantly scrutinized and hang in the balance. Job security is a luxury most coaches don’t have, which is why they push themselves so hard.
“There’s no getting around it. It is part of our job. The stress of it, the way we push ourselves, whether it be the lack of sleep, the lack of eating, just the daily grind of trying to find ways to improve and push your team," Stoops said. "It is part of what we do. Again, I just encourage all coaches to be sure you’re using the medical staffs we all are around as much as we’re able to.”
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