In the wake of the mild heart attack Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio suffered this past Saturday, Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said that should serve as a warning sign for his profession.
For starters, Tuberville said coaches are under so much stress to win games that sometimes they overlook their own health so they can make the alumni, student body and their bosses happy. While winning, in some cases, does occur, the toll on the coach's body is often overwhelming.
"I don't know of any other job that's as stressful as this one, especially with the changes over the last 10-15 years with year-round attention and recruiting,'' Tuberville said on Tuesday. "That's become one thing that's made it just as stressful -- the competition (of recruiting).
"But the big thing is how much you travel. When you travel you never eat well, so you';re kind of like a junk food junkie. You eat out and you don't eat smart, you build the stress on top of it, and you have 80-90 hour work weeks. It's a heart attack waiting to happen.''
Tuberville, 56, said he tries to avoid some of the pitfalls that could lead to a heart attack by following his three golden rules.
"Exercise, sleep and nutrition,'' he said. "That's the three things that we have to have in our profession. And we have to make ourselves do it.
"When you're younger I hardly ever slept, and I was eating burgers every day. You say I'm going to exercise at noon, and then you work at noon and you look and it's time to go to practice or get on a plane or do something. There's just no routine.''
With the Internet, social networking sites, sports talk radio and TV shows, and 24-hour sports TV shows all the rage -- where fans can voice their displeasure with a coach immediately after a game -- that could take a coach's stress level up a notch or two.
In Tuberville's case, he has another incentive to work hard to stay physically fit.
"My dad passed away at 53 years old, and most of his brothers did,'' Tuberville said. "Part of that is genetics in terms of heart conditions and all those things, so I try to exercise and I try to watch what I eat.
"But you don't get any consistent sleep. One night you might get four hours (sleep), the next night you might get eight, and the next night you might not hardly get any because you can't sleep. So I get a physical every year just because of the genetics in my family.''
Dantonio suffered the mild heart attack and was hospitalized after a wild 34-31 overtime win over Notre Dame when Michigan State scored the game-winning touchdown off a fake field goal. Dantonio was released from the hospital Tuesday.
"There's a lot of things that go into coaching that people don't understand,'' Tuberville said. "When you're on the road and you're heading over a team and you don't know when you're going to eat, you don't know where you're going to eat.
"You go into a place and you don't know what they're cooking with. And then you throw all the stress on top of it. It's a heart attack waiting to happen.''
-- Dwain Price