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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Stoops addresses coaching stresses

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

In a matchup of ranked teams, No. 24 Arizona took on the No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. A stout defense and pesky special teams helped the Wildcats to a 34-27 upset victory.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat In a matchup of ranked teams, No. 24 Arizona took on the No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. A stout defense and pesky special teams helped the Wildcats to a 34-27 upset victory.

When head coach Mike Stoops met with the media yesterday for his weekly press conference, there wasn’t the ear-to-ear smile that was on his face after Saturday’s 34-27 win over Iowa because, as Stoops said, the work isn’t done.

“”There are still 13 teams ahead of us,”” he said in his business-as-usual tone.

But after the standard questions fired at him about the Iowa game and the upcoming game with California, the topic shifted to the level of stress that’s placed on head coaches.

The effects of the job have never been more relevant than now, not after Florida head coach Urban Meyer contemplated walking away from the game (he did, but it only lasted a few minutes so we won’t count it) due to heart problems stemming from stress last spring, or when Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio suffered a heart attack after a miracle win against Notre Dame on Saturday.

“”I let all mine out,”” Stoops said with a laugh, citing the frustration he lets out on the sidelines as a way to relieve stress. “”Coach Dantonio was as cool as a cucumber after the game … and Mark looks like nothing really phases him but you never know.””

Stoops, who has a relationship with Dantonio dating back to their days as graduate assistants, said he called the Michigan State head coach on Sunday. The experience opened his eyes a bit to the demands placed on being a head coach.

“”These jobs are different, they’re unique, but they’re stressful,”” Stoops said. “”That’s just kind of how it is.””

Being the centerpiece to an entity as large as a football program is stressful enough, but Stoops is probably most known across the country for his antics on the sidelines — especially his interactions with the referees.

“”I let (the stress) out, as you know,”” Stoops said. “”I was frustrated the other night about the officiating, I thought they got too involved in the game, I thought there were some marginal calls and I probably let it get to me when I shouldn’t have. But that’s who I am, it wasn’t anything personal.

“”That’s how I relieve my (stress) and I let it go and once it’s gone the game is over, there’s nothing you can do about it,”” he added. “”I would never blame on an official or a call.””

Coaches handle the stress and intensity of each game differently. Some coaches are boisterous and animated while others are calm and collected. While Stoops undoubtedly falls under the former, he acknowledged no coach, regardless of demeanor, is immune to getting caught up in the moment.

“”Everyone is intense if you’re a competitor. Some people show it, whether it’s Bob (Stoops), whether it’s Mark Dantonio, whether it’s Jim Tressel or Urban Meyer. The intensity gets the best of everyone if you’re a competitor.

“”Football plays the fewest games of any major sport, which puts that much more pressure on each game. Coaches and players feel it for sure, but there’s more to a football game then the people directly involved in playing it and Stoops said that they feel the pressure as well.

“”There’s a lot of stress on a lot of people, not just the head coach,”” Stoops said. “”There’s stress on the equipment (managers), the trainers, there’s a lot that goes into what we do to put on 12 games a year or 13. I can’t tell you the amount of work in all phases that really go into what we do.””

The stress isn’t healthy, and Stoops knows that. He said he runs regularly and tries to do things to keep the stress from eating away at him. He’s even toned down his sideline routines over the years, just ask wide receiver William “”Bug”” Wright.

“”I just looked at Bug, but back in my day I probably would’ve yelled,”” Stoops said, referring to when Wright muffed the punt against Iowa late in the game. “”I just looked at him, that’s all I had to do.””

Wright would eventually make up for his mistakes by catching the game-winning touchdown pass. Whether or not Stoops’ decision to refrain from berating Wright had something to do with that will never be known, but Stoops was honest with Wright after the game, telling him he went “”from goat to hero.”” Honesty is something Stoops runs his life by, whether he’s coaching, screaming at refs, or anything in between.

“”I see the game for what it is,”” Stoops said.”” I’m blatantly honest in how I feel.””

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