Coach Meyer: Coaching is Hard on the Heart

With Two-Time AFC Coach of the Year RON MEYER


Mark Dantonio made headlines late Saturday Night and early Sunday morning last weekend because of two very surprising developments.

  • He called for a fake field goal, down three points, in overtime against Notre Dame, and saw his team execute the play perfectly to score the game winning touchdown.
  • He suffered a heart attack a few hours later!

Now, nobody should think that it was the dramatic finish by itself that caused Dantonio's health issues. Urban Meyer of Florida had heart problems last year. A coaching lifestyle is far from a healthy lifestyle because of:

  • Stress
  • Long hours, particularly in the Fall
  • Stress
  • Bad eating habits
  • Stress

Try dealing with several dozen 18-20 year old men a few hours a day even if they're NOT football players and see how exhausted you get!

Dantonio's episode was surely a combination of not taking care of himself as well as he should, AND the excitement/drama of the evening.

He's also feeling some pressure at the position because Michigan State isn't being discussed amongst the powers of the Big Ten this year. Ohio State, Iowa, and Wisconsin were all hyped during the summer. Penn State was part of a "big four" because of reputation and recent performance even though they'd be rebuilding. Michigan State was an afterthought. If you're at a big name school like Michigan State, and you're seen as an afterthought...then you're automatically under a lot of pressure to move forward.

It couldn't have helped that Dantonio was the head coach at Cincinnati before moving to MSU. Cincinnati made a big step forward in the national spotlight AFTER he left. And, that happened under the guidance of the man Dantonio happened to be facing Saturday Night. Brian Kelly led Cincinnati to Big East championships and BCS bowl appearances before moving to Notre Dame this season. Clearly MSU-Notre Dame was very important to Dantonio, with the heart attack suggesting it was even more important than anyone else realized.

How will Michigan State respond to the situation? Typically players have a "rally around the flag" attitude at first. Over time though, you just never know. If the head coach is absent, that absence is going to matter. If the head coach returns but tones things down to keep his blood pressure in check...well, a toned down head coach isn't necessarily a good thing if his players aren't used to it. Meyer's Gators sure didn't start the 2010 season very impressively after he returned to the sideline. Is there a connection?

Michigan State plays Northern Colorado this week in a non-board game. That's a lucky break because it's not a big game in the scheme of things. What happens the next two games against Wisconsin and Michigan will set the tone for the rest of the season. I'll be watching those games very closely. Note that Michigan State doesn't play Ohio State this season. That may become important down the road.

Hopefully you're personal handicapper performance hasn't been a cause for stress. Out here in Las Vegas I see a lot of bettors make bad mistakes because they can't handle the pressure of trying to beat the oddsmakers. They get frustrated. They panic. Then they make bad bets that just make things worse. It becomes a downward spiral they can't get out of.

If this is happening to you, it's time to put A COACH IN YOUR CORNER!

You can sign up for my service online. Game day releases are also available a few hours before kickoff every day here at the website. Action resumes Thursday night with Miami of Florida at Pittsburgh. Sign up for the season and make that your first big winner!

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Not everyone is cut out to be a do-it-yourself football bettor. Everyone can win though. All you have to do is call COACH RON MEYER!


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