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Entries in Coach (3)

Tuesday
Aug072012

Kids with Coaches for Parents: Troubled or Unfairly Scrutinized?

Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Philadelphia Eagles' coach Andy Reid released a statement Monday evening addressing the role that drugs might have played in his son's death.

"Garrett's road through life was not always an easy one.  He faced tremendous personal challenges with bravery and spirit.  As a family we stood by him and were inspired as he worked to overcome those challenges.  Even though he lost the battle that has been ongoing for the last eight years, we will always remember him as a fighter who had a huge, loving heart," Reid said.

From University of Alabama coach Nick Saban's daughter's pending assault lawsuit to the suicide of the son of then Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy to the arrest of Jacksonville Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey's son for cocaine possession, children of coaches have come under increasing public scrutiny for problematic behavior.

Now, the death of Garrett Reid, 29, who was found unresponsive in a Leigh University dorm room on Sunday, may highlight a growing problem among the children of coaches who devote long hours to their careers, perhaps at the expense of their families' well-being.

Former University of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino's son, Dominic, was arrested in Indiana for drunken driving, marijuana possession, illegal possession of prescription drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia in June 2011.  James Ferentz, son of University of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz, was arrested for public intoxication -- his second alcohol-related offense -- in April 2009.

The son of Green Bay Packers' offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, drowned in a frozen river in Oshkosh, Wis., in January.  While 21-year-old Michael Philbin's death was ruled an accident, the autopsy report revealed that his blood alcohol level was .176 -- well over legal limits.

While Garrett Reid's cause of death is still unknown, both he and his younger brother, Britt, struggled with drug abuse in the past.  Reid has admitted to using heroin, and was caught attempting to smuggle prescription pills into jail during his incarceration.

But is it fair to attribute the problems that the progeny of public figures face, including drug possession, public drunkenness, or driving while intoxicated, to the pressures they feel as a result of their parents' professions?

"From a psychological standpoint, I think any child of a celebrity, maybe even more so in sports ... grows up with a sense that they are special, that they come from a special family," said Stanley Teitelbaum, a clinical psychologist and author of Athletes Who Indulge Their Dark Side.

"I think that sometimes it may translate into feeling a pressure into being kind of a model kid or to perform in a very special way," he said.

Teitelbaum said that it's "a tough act to follow" in the footsteps of a famous father who dedicates the majority of time to his job.  As a result, many may try to cross the line to call attention to themselves, which may include abusing drugs or alcohol.

"When you grow up in a family where the dad is not all that available, it becomes that much more powerful of a plea," he said.

"We know that the children of affluent parents have higher rates of depression, anxiety disorder and substance abuse," said Madeline Levine, author of Teach Your Children Well.  "The research says that these kids feel particularly pressured to perform."

Levine said that children of well-known or well-off parents struggle with their own identities, because "they are sort of identified as an appendage to a famous parent."

"I think that it can be incredibly lonely and difficult for those kids because nobody is particularly sympathetic," she said.  "Instead people say, 'Cry me a river, your father's famous.'"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov042011

Exclusive: Legendary Coach Pat Summitt Stares Down Dementia  

J. Meric/Getty Images(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.a) -- Despite a devastating diagnosis, legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summitt is determined to stay in the game.

"I don't want to sit around the house. I want to be out there," Summitt told ABC News' Robin Roberts in an exclusive interview. "I want to go to practice. I want to be in the huddles. That's me."

Summitt is the winningest coach in college basketball history, taking the University of Tennessee's Lady Vols to more victories than any college coach for any basketball team, men's or women's. But last August, Summitt, 59, revealed she was facing her toughest opponent yet: early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type -- a condition for which there is no cure.

Summitt broke the news to her staff and her team before telling the world. The coach known for her steely blue eyes was emotional at first, but that didn't last, said Lady Vols associate head coach Holly Warlick.

"(She) said, 'It's not a pity party. And we're going to get through this,'" Warlick remembered.

Summitt said she first realized something was wrong when she'd wake up feeling disoriented.

"I'd wake up in the morning and I would think, 'Where am I?' I'd have to gather myself," she said. "And then I just didn't feel right."

Last spring, Summitt sought out a leading Alzheimer's specialist at the Mayo Clinic, who confirmed her worst fears.

"Obviously I was very disappointed," Summitt said. "I hate to sound this way but, 'Why me? Why me with dementia?'"

But Summitt didn't despair for long.

"It hurt me but I go, 'Well, I got to do it. I got to deal with it,'" she said.

Her only child, son Tyler, 21, and her team keep her going, Summitt said.

"It just keeps my brain working, you know," she said of coaching. "I'm active, doing things."

When she was named head coach of the University of Tennessee women's team in 1974, Summitt was just 22, barely older than her players. The university had originally offered Summitt an assistant coaching job but promptly promoted her when the team's head coach announced she was taking a sabbatical.

In those early days under Title 9 -- the landmark federal law that led schools and colleges to dramatically increase access to sports and other programs for women -- women's basketball games weren't televised and attendance was poor. The Lady Vols were so strapped for cash that Summitt washed her players' uniforms at home and drove the team to games.

Nearly four decades later, the University of Tennessee has a world class women's basketball program with players drawn by the allure of being coached by a legend.

Being the head coach in a competitive basketball program requires long hours of practice sessions, a grueling travel schedule and the intense pressure of games played in a national spotlight. It's a tough job for a perfectly healthy person, let alone someone whose memory is under attack by dementia.

The job's duties, said Dr. Sam Gandy, "are often just the opposite of what you would prescribe for someone with Alzheimer's disease."

Gandy, an expert in Alzheimer's disease at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, is blunt in his explanation of the typical Alzheimer's prognosis.

"This is a fatal disease. This is like cancer. This kills people by robbing them of their cortex of the brain, the surface of the brain that's used for thinking," he said.

The average time from "diagnosis to death," he said, is 10 years. But even he sees a silver lining for Summitt.

"Certainly in many diseases, having an upbeat outlook, trying to maintain a positive view of things does seem to effect the prognosis. So I think she should do what she wants to do. She should go for what she wants to go for," he said.

Summitt says she sees dementia as a beatable opponent.

She takes medication to combat the degenerative effects of dementia and, in addition to coaching, keeps her mind active by solving puzzles on her iPad.

Warlick, who has worked with Summitt for 25 years, admitted that she has seen the coach slow down and that, she said, is hard to watch.

"But Pat handles it," she said. "I look at her and go, 'Wow, I don't know how she does it. So I think it's harder on us than it is on her."

The coach, meanwhile, hasn't lost her sense of humor.

"She told our kids two things," Warlick said. "She says, 'I'm going to remember your name. And I'm still going to yell at you."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug232011

Tennessee's Pat Summitt Diagnosed with Early Onset of Dementia

Kelly Kline/WireImage(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) -- Pat Summitt, the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history, has been diagnosed with an early onset of dementia, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

The Tennessee Vols coach, who's one of the most celebrated figures in women's basketball, received the news in May after undergoing a series of tests in an effort to explain what she described as months of erratic behavior.

Summitt, 59, was told by doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. ,her condition is a type associated with Alzheimer's disease.

"I feel better just knowing what I’m dealing with," Summitt told the Sentinel. “And as far as I’m concerned it’s not going to keep me from living my life, not going to keep me from coaching.”

Summitt, who says her grandmother suffered from "severe dementia," says she plans on coaching the Vols this coming season.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio