Watch CBS News

Stress Of Coaching Big Time Sports Can Be Unhealthy

DENVER (CBS4) - When Denver Broncos head coach John Fox underwent a heart operation last week, and Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak suffered a mini-stroke, it put an increased the spotlight on the pressures head coaches are under.

Coaches work under a great deal of pressure, but is what they do really any more stressful than what regular working people do in their jobs?

"I think any job is stressful because I think everybody wants to be successful at their job," University of Colorado football coach Mike MacIntyre said. "Our job is just the three hours that it's out there, everything is under the microscope, so it all boils up at one time."

That's the difference -- the intense scrutiny put on coaches. Every coach wants to win, but it's compounded by pressure and criticism from outside sources.

"Sometimes I may get criticized because I smile a lot, or I'm pretty loose and I'm pretty laid back. I'm that way by nature, but I'm also that way because in the end this is a game that we play. It's our job, but it's a game and we should enjoy it," Denver Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw said.

Gary Kubiak
Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is loaded on a stretcher after he collapsed on the field as the team left for halftime against the Indianapolis Colts at Reliant Stadium on November 3, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

"I think there has always been stress and pressure to win," University of Denver basketball coach Joe Scott said. "Any coach knows you have got to win. I think the stress and pressure comes today from the outside, the outside sources. You know, paying attention to things that really have nothing to do with you.

"In football and basketball, you can go online and you can read about anything, anywhere -- 9 million things going on, and you've got to stay away from that stuff as best as you can because I think that's an unhealthy stress."

That unhealthy stress is compounded when a coach, driven to help his players succeed, neglects himself in the process.

"We may have the tendency to forget about ourselves, that we were going to eat and stuff like that. I try to work out and our staff is trying to take care of me, make sure I go to the gym and eat well," Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said.

Coaches taking care of themselves is critical. Shaw has found a hobby that helps him deal with what can sometimes be overwhelming stress.

"I love to fish, so in (Los Angeles) and Indiana I lived on a lake. So I would come home from practice or whatever and I would go out on a boat and just relax and fish, and that would completely take my mind away from it," Shaw said.

So why do they do it and put themselves in a stressful and demanding job and subject themselves to criticism and ridicule?

"It's what we love," Roy said.

That's the bottom line -- love of the game.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.