TCU assistant coach changed approach to life after heart attack

Posted Monday, Dec. 12, 2011  comments  Print Reprints
A

Poinsettia Bowl

No. 18 TCU vs.

Louisiana Tech

7 p.m. Dec. 21, San Diego

TV: ESPN

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TCU offensive line coach Eddie Williamson probably could have used a less challenging season to deal with after suffering a heart attack a year ago in November.

Williamson, who also serves as an assistant head coach, was serenaded with Happy Birthday by coaches and players after the Horned Frogs' practice Sunday at the Sam Baugh Indoor Facility.

Williamson, who turned 60, suffered a heart attack early in a TCU home game against San Diego State on Nov. 13, 2010. He had surgery that day to clear blockage in a lower artery and doctors inserted a stent.

"I feel good," said Williamson, who has kept off the 20 pounds or so he lost after the attack. "I'm still careful with my diet. I just had my one year check-up recently and everything was good."

His wife, Patty, helped celebrate the occasion Sunday with balloons and cupcakes for Williamson's offensive line. But ice cream, one of Williamson's favorite desserts, is still off the menu.

Diet isn't the only change Williamson made to his daily routine. He's also dealing with stress differently.

"Just attitude. I think once something like that happens to you... I have a deeper appreciation every day for life," he said.

"I try to handle that a little bit better. I always said everything was an opportunity, but now I'm living it more than I probably did."

The 18th-ranked Frogs (10-2), who meet Louisiana Tech (8-4) on Dec. 21 in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego, have won their last seven games, but their 3-2 start was stressful.

"Well, it was, but the kids we are coaching were trying hard," he said. "They have grown during the year. I probably don't get as stressed as I used to."

Williamson had a deeper, more experienced offensive line last year, with seniors such as Marcus Cannon, Jake Kirkpatrick and Josh Vernon.

During 2011, Williamson dealt with injuries and other depth issues.

Former tight end Robert Deck moved to tackle just before August camp. Two other tackles were forced to be practice-only players for various reasons, including Arlington Oakridge's Tayo Fabuluje, who had to sit out the season after transferring from BYU.

"In many ways this has been one of our best years from where we started and where we are right now," said Williamson, who takes blood thinners to prevent clotting and continues to exercise. "Hopefully, we'll go play well in this bowl game and finish it off.

"I still feel young, I don't feel old and I'm going to try to not to get where I feel old. I understand I'm aging, but there is a difference between aging and getting old. I'm still young at heart. I still enjoy coaching football."

Stefan Stevenson

817-390-7760

Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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