Tuesday's column for the Washington Post:
Like millions of others, Syracuse basketball Coach Jim Boeheim watched the extraordinary finish of the Michigan State-Notre Dame game Saturday night. After the Spartans had won 34-31 in overtime on an audacious fake field goal attempt that they turned into a touchdown, Boeheim kept his TV on to watch the postgame interview with Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio.
"I remember thinking as I watched, 'For a guy who just won an unbelievable game, he doesn't look too good,' " Boeheim said on Monday afternoon. "He almost looked a little bit sick."
As it turned out, Dantonio was sick. Several hours later, he was in the hospital, having surgery after suffering a heart attack. Michigan State is describing it as a "mild" heart attack. There is no such thing as a mild heart attack. Dantonio, 54, was very lucky.
"Sometimes you can be fit and in shape, and it happens to you anyway," South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier said. "There are no guarantees in coaching except if you don't take care of yourself, you're almost guaranteed to have something happen. That's why I work out five days a week all year round. I've done it for as long as I've been coaching."
Coaching, especially on the so-called big-time level, is one of the more stressful jobs going, in part because there are limited opportunities each year to succeed (or fail) and in part because you are being judged by an unforgiving public every time your team goes out to compete. Coaches tend to keep crazy hours in-season. They often eat late at night, and they don't eat a lot of salads.
Fifteen years ago Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams missed four games late in the season after being rushed to the hospital with pneumonia. As sick as he felt, he might not have gone if his trainer, J.J. Bush hadn't insisted on it.
Click here for the rest of the column: Coaching can be hazardous to one's health