NORMAN — Part of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops’ press conference Monday turned into a discussion on the physical and mental stress football coaches face.
The issue has become timely after two NFL coaches — Denver’s John Fox and Houston’s Gary Kubiak — are now away from their teams due to health issues. Kubiak remains in a Houston hospital after collapsing at halftime of the Texans’ game against Indianapolis Sunday night. Fox underwent heart surgery over the weekend and will miss several games while he recuperates.
The stress the game and coaching can cause are no secret to Stoops, whose father, Ron, died of a heart attack at 54. He suffered the heart attack during a game.
“I know the stresses of it. Not that (knowing) can prevent it, but I’m checked by my doctor routinely and monitored, even cholesterol,” Stoops said. “I’ve got a lot of issues that I’ve got to manage. I think everybody should.
“That’s the one positive thing about coaching — we’re around great medical teams. So use them to make sure you’re in as good a position as you can be. It still doesn’t mean you can prevent anything, but hopefully you lessen your percentage.”
The physical checkups help, but the stress that comes from long days and nights also take a toll. Stoops pointed out that from late July through the end of the season there is no time off.
Just last week, OU’s players had Thursday and Friday off to help set the schedule for Thursday’s game against Baylor.
The coaches? They hit the road recruiting.
“The lifestyle is different. Not everyone understands it. Not all spouses understand it. I don’t know that the general public realizes it,” Stoops said. “From late July through January, it’s seven days a week. You get home at eight, nine, 10, 11, sometimes midnight or one, depending on how you’re scheming things. It’s a different lifestyle that isn’t for everybody. The guys that are in it, we love it. It’s what you do.”