CU coach Dan Hawkins urges his assistants to make time to work out and stay healthy despite the rigors of the job.
CU coach Dan Hawkins urges his assistants to make time to work out and stay healthy despite the rigors of the job. ( Cliff Grassmick )
Major college football coaches make a lot of money trying to win championships, take their teams to bowl games and produce NFL talent, but they often pay the price with their health.

What coaches do to take care of themselves during the season was a popular topic Monday on the Big 12 coaches' teleconference in the wake of Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio suffering a heart attack over the weekend.

Dantonio's Spartans defeated Notre Dame in overtime on a gutsy fake field goal call by the coach, who found himself in a local hospital with chest pains just a few hours later. Dantonio is taking an indefinite leave of absence to recover. Offensive coordinator Don Treadwell is managing the program until Dantonio returns.

By all accounts, Dantonio is a 54-yard-old who did his best to take care of himself and was thought to be healthy right up to the point when he began to experience chest pains, which is why news of his heart attack was such as eye-opener for others in the profession.

Based on comments from coaches Monday, it's clear they have a difficult time balancing the demands of the job in the modern era with eating right and getting enough exercise and sleep.

"We make sure in our schedule that guys can get some sleep and I want guys to get down there in the weight room and work out and get a little sweat going cause all that stuff is important," Colorado coach Dan Hawkins said. "It's hard. There is no question it's hard.


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It's a hard balance because you don't do a lot of other things, but we definitely try to encourage our guys to go for a jog and lift someweights and make sure you get some sleep. It is a grind though, no question."

Colorado coaches can be seen heading for the weight room or out to jog or walk along Boulder Creek around the noon hour most days. Hawkins generally tries to use a treadmill with a view of Folsom Field in the Dal Ward Center.

Many of his peers around the league said they also emphasize living a balanced life with their assistants, but talking about it and actually doing it is difficult from August through December.

Head coaches have myriad responsibilities that go well beyond spending three hours on the practice fields each day and the Xs and Os side of the job.

They deal with fundraising, recruiting, academics, alumni and community relations and an ever-growing media horde. They also deal with the personal problems of more than 100 players and the concerns of those players' parents. They also have personal lives of their own.

"There is no doubt you just wear yourself thin trying to win every game in the fall, and there is a lot on your plate," Texas coach Mack Brown said.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, who has been a head coach for two decades, says he usually works out three times a week in the early morning hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Pinkel said it took him some time to learn how to take care of himself and be a successful coach at the same time.

Pinkel said he used to get "wired" for Saturday games by Wednesday but he has learned to delay that feeling. He said every Saturday morning in the season feels like a national championship game day to him.

"The intensity level and stress is beyond, I think, what anybody would ever imagine on a head coach," Pinkel said.

Four-week stretch

crucial for Bears

Few thought Baylor would go to TCU and win last week, but with quarterback Robert Griffin back on the field this season, few predicted a 35-point loss to the Horned Frogs.

Baylor is regrouping this week and still has reason to believe it could win six games and get to a bowl game for the first time since joining the Big 12 Conference 15 years ago.

Baylor has winnable games in each of the next four weeks at Rice, at home against Kansas, on a neutral field in Dallas against Texas Tech and in Boulder against the Buffs. The Bears already have two wins and must win three or four of those contests to have a realistic shot at the postseason. They end the year with four straight games against Big 12 South Division rivals.

Tigers lose Smith

Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith suffered a broken fibula in a win over San Diego State and will miss this week's game against Miami (Ohio), adding to Pinkel's stress level. Pinkel said he has had players play with the same injury in the past and that might be possible for Smith after at least a week off. The bone is non-weight bearing.

"The good news is we're going to get him back, but the other is we're going to have some opportunities to play some of our younger guys who have played a lot, and their role will change a little bit," Pinkel said. "That's all good."

Bo says no

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said the one first-place vote his team received in the coaches' poll did not come from him.

Numbers game

7 -- The number of times Colorado has rallied from at least 10 points down to win under coach Dan Hawkins.

Short yardage

Eight teams in the conference are averaging at least 30 points a game. ... Oklahoma State is scoring so much its kickoff coverage team already has 24 touchbacks. The only other team in the league with at least 10 is Nebraska. ... Texas Tech defensive back Jarvis Phillips leads the nation with four interceptions. ... Texas ranks second in the nation in total defense and plays host to a UCLA team this week than ranks 118th in passing offense. Probably not a recipe for an upset in Austin. ... Brandon Weeden (OSU), Eric Hagg (Nebraska), Curtis Brown (Texas) and William Powell (Kansas State) were named Big 12 Conference Football Players of the Week.

Who is hot?

Oklahoma State redshirt sophomore wide receiver Justin Blackmon is averaging 144 receiving yards per game.

Who is not?

Baylor's offense is converting just 29 percent of the time on third down, including going 2-for-12 at Texas Christian last week.