North Texas Daily

Health issues in the past for Dan McCarney

Health issues in the past for Dan McCarney

Health issues in the past for Dan McCarney
October 06
23:27 2014

Ehsan Azad / Staff Writer 

It is the norm to see Mean Green football head coach Dan McCarney full of energy on the sidelines. But McCarney has come off serious health concerns during his career.

Since becoming the head coach in 2011, McCarney has suffered through health problems including a stroke, a heart bypass and diminished eyesight. Yet, the 61-year-old coach said he has never been an unhealthy person with the his lifestyle.

“I am one of those examples that it could happen to anyone,” McCarney said. “I don’t have much body fat, I’ve never had a weight issue and I have always worked out. Eating, sleeping and working out has become a part of my lifestyle.”

McCarney lost 40 pounds after his playing days were over and has rigorously committed himself to a healthy lifestyle. Yet health problems began to affect him, starting with his eyesight. McCarney is blind in his right eye and constantly wears sunglasses because the eye is sensitive to light.

Then, some more serious problems arose for the Mean Green coach. In 2012, McCarney suffered a stroke, but he had recovered in time to coach the team without any problems. Then, in the spring of 2013, an angiogram was done to see signs for possible blockage in the arteries.

“Four of them were 95 percent blocked including the ‘widow maker,’” McCarney said. “One of the nurses told me, ‘what are you doing here? You don’t look like a guy that needs to be here.’”

McCarney went through open heart surgery and had a quadruple bypass right before the 2013 season, in which the team won nine games and won the Heart of Dallas Bowl. The experience has made McCarney want to spread the word about heart disease and stroke.

The American Heart Association felt the same way and appointed him the honorary chairman of the Denton Heart Walk, which was Sept. 13.

The players find it inspirational that their head coach has come back from his health problems and kept his energy up. Senior offensive lineman Cyril Lemon was one of the players on the team when McCarney had gone through most of his health issues.

“When I first heard about it, I was kind of scared to think that something could have happened to him,” Lemon said. “Then to see him bounce the way he did was just unbelievable.”

Lemon said that McCarney is still working out and acts as a motivation for the players on the team.

“It gives us the confidence to go out there and even work harder, to show that hard work can really pay off,” Lemon said. “They are up in age and they are still working, so why can’t we do that?”

The workout players refer to is McCarney walking up and down the steps of Apogee Stadium. Sometimes even after press conferences people will see McCarney shirtless and climbing those steps, trying to get a good workout in.

“Believe me, I am not out there trying to set any records,” McCarney said. “There is no chance anyone is going sign me up on their teams to compete with anybody.”

While McCarney brushes it off, redshirt freshman quarterback Dajon Williams said he is impressed with how committed his head coach is to exercise.

“That is amazing that he can still run like that and stay healthy and that actually gives me confidence too,” Williams said. “If he can go out there and run, then we can go out there and make plays.”

Even though he is more aware of his health issues, McCarney isn’t changing too much in his life. One thing he has changed is eliminating sodas from his diet after a doctor showed him how much sugar really is in one can. Aside from that, he said he plans to stay the same.

“When it is time for me to get out, I will know it because if I am going to be here and I am going to do it, then I am going to do it with every ounce of energy and commitment that God gave me in my life,” McCarney said. “There is only one way to do it in my mind, in my life and my lifestyle and approach, and that is going 100 mph.”

Featured Image: Head coach Dan McCarney jogs on the field with the football team during the most recent home game on Sept. 20. Photo by Ryan Vance – Staff Photographer

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