Polian, Herm, and George Karl discuss the unhealthy lifestyle of coaches

Posted by: Pete Roussel on Tuesday November 05, 2013


Bill Polian, Herm Edwards, and George Karl discussed during LIVE Sportscenter today the unhealthy lifestyle that coaches face due to the enormous pressure to win.

In light of the recent health issues of Denver Broncos head coach John Fox and Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, Polian concluded, “This is a message.  What has happened to two of the most popular guys in the NFL, Kubs and Fox, this is message that they (the league office) need to start thinking about how they can make life a little easier for football coaches because right now, it is a grind for ten months of the year.”

Of note, Karl said, “It’s amazing how much is on your plate.  There are different ways to feel stress.  Winning and losing is the biggest thing.  Getting fired is a big thing.  Of course, you make a lot of money.  Your responsibility for a lot of people, your family, coaches, equipment managers, when you go, they could go, so you always feel the excess pressure.  I don’t feel anyone feels the media pressure.  I think we have expectations that are higher than what other people make for you, but there is  a tremendous stress and how you manage your life is something we don’t teach our society.  It’s about working hard, being blue-collar guys, it’s about putting in 10-12-14 hours – that’s a good thing, but in the end, it can be a bad thing.”

Edwards said, “You’re there to fix things; that’s your job.  Even when you rest, the mind is constantly going. There is always something on your plate; the plate is never clear.  It never ends.”

Polian said, “We did a study five years ago and we found the average week during the season was well over 100 hours.  That included travel time and all rest of those things.  And over the course of a season, our head coach had over 100 press conferences during the course of a regular season; that does not count the playoffs or the Super Bowl.  Now, the President of the United States does not have 100 press conference of the course of a four-year term.  Every time you meet with the press, it’s stressful.  Almost by nature, it’s adversarial.  You have to prepare for it. That’s a demand we’ve put on them (coaches) that didn’t exist 15 years ago.”

Karl added, “The intensity is amazing.  When you go on a road trip, seven different cities in eleven days, and you go on a losing streak, it’s amazing.  You talk about no sleep.  You don’t feel rested at all.  It is an incredibly draining job especially if you’re on a team that is rebuilding or in a losing mode.  Winning solves a lot of problems.  You find some space for happiness when you’re winning; you find some energy.  But for me, I got to a point when the season was over, I was done.  I was done.”

Edwards, who noted that he missed only one practice in his 30 years of playing and coaching, said, “And remember the energy you have to bring to the table every day.  It’s very important because everyone is looking at you, especially when you’re on a losing streak.   Everyone is looking at you when you walk into the building.  It’s almost like I’ve got to put this building on my shoulders today because I’ve got to get the spirits of the team up, but not only the team but everyone in the organization.

As John Elway said recently, the problem coaches have is their inability to put themselves higher on the totem pole.  You must pay attention to your diet, exercise habits, and overall health issues.

Pete Roussel is a valuable resource for coaches, athletic directors, NFL front-office personnel, and college football enthusiasts. A former college football coach, Roussel shares insight on coaches 365 days a year and is recognized as the most trusted expert on coaching transactions. Follow @CoachingSearch on twitter and send your feedback to pete@coachingsearch.comtest