Upon awakening, Bob Huggins found himself surrounded by strangers who were lifting him into an ambulance, as he had collapsed at the airport while catching a flight back home to Pittsburgh. This incident occurred over 20 years ago, during a recruiting trip.
Huggins, the future Hall of Fame coach at Cincinnati, suffered a massive heart attack and was told by doctors that he had to make some lifestyle changes to try and lose some weight, reduce stress levels, and eat healthier. He was also advised to exercise more and was implanted with a device to help normalize his heartbeat. After the attack, he was taken to the hospital where he drifted in and out of consciousness while being transported.
That previous one? That could have been the most challenging one.
Throughout the years, numerous individuals have encountered challenges, and Huggins is just one example among many. The well-being of coaches is inherently jeopardized, particularly due to the escalating pressure in major college basketball, which results in extended work hours and minimal time for rest.
Bill Self, the Kansas counterpart of West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, learned on Thursday that his longtime friend and colleague had been admitted to the hospital for an undisclosed illness. Consequently, he had to leave the Tournament 12 Big room and rush to the emergency room to be by his side.
Huggins expressed, “I was left with no alternative,” following his team’s defeat to Kansas in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament. I personally experienced that. It becomes evident that there are occasions when you are compelled to decelerate and have no other option.
He remembered, “I was in the hospital with a whole bunch of tubes, feeling like I was sticking and every 15 minutes someone was coming in.” I want to tell him what I really think or what I need to say, but I want to be able to say it as soon as he can understand — well, I want to get to Bill, you know.
Late on Wednesday, Kansas officials have been lacking in information regarding the circumstances that led to Self’s admission to the hospital. Dr. Steve Stites, the chief medical officer at the University of Kansas Health System, stated that Self did not experience a cardiac arrest, as previously claimed by certain sources, but rather underwent a medical intervention.
In the title match, the Jayhawks, who were the previous champions, were scheduled to compete against Iowa State on Friday evening. However, on Thursday evening, it was announced that the school initially stated that Self would not be able to participate in the rest of the Big 12 Tournament due to an illness, after previously stating that he would miss the Jayhawks’ first postseason game.
It is completely uncertain if the NCAA Tournament, where the Jayhawks are a probable top seed and the reigning champions, will feature longtime assistant Norm Roberts as the interim leader of Kansas during Self’s absence.
“Coach is performing admirably,” stated Roberts Thursday evening. “I conversed with him over the phone (following the victory against West Virginia). He’s in a good state. He’s already eager to analyze footage and engage in similar activities. He’s progressing. He’s making improvements.”
Playing college basketball in arguably the toughest league can contribute to self’s health problems. Whether it is the stress of the season or the demanding nature of the profession, there have been plenty of examples that highlight the point that it puts those at risk.
He was declared deceased at the medical facility. He was discovered in a slouched position on his office sofa and not responsive. The Wake Forest trainer experienced a heart attack of his own after going for a run in the middle of the day in 2007. Skip Prosser is also included in this category. Huggins is part of the same group.
Meyer, the Urban Football coach, has said on several occasions that the strain of his job has contributed to absences, retirements, and health issues. It is not only the basketball lifestyle that is stressful.
“It emphasizes the brevity of life,” stated Baylor coach Scott Drew.
Essentially, when he decides to hang it up, the contract gives him the freedom. The 60-year-old Hall of Fame coach could be in charge of the Jayhawks for years to come, and it is expected that he will make a full recovery according to his doctors.