Jamieson works to reconcile family responsibilities with coaching lifestyle

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:51 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Tim Jamieson, Missouri baseball head coach, speaks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Taylor Stadium to unveil the new facility. Jamieson has been coaching for 20 years and still finds it difficult to balance baseball and family responsibilities.

COLUMBIA — The life of a coach can be stressful, even for the coach's family, so Cindy Jamieson moved the television out of the bedroom.

Her husband, Missouri baseball coach Tim Jamieson, needs time to mentally decompress after games. That cuts into his sleep time. And when her husband couldn't sleep, Cindy Jamieson would be awoken by the bright light of the TV, often tuned to The Weather Channel.


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It's a small part of the constant battle Tim Jamieson fights to balance the stress and nerves that come with coaching and the responsibilities of having a family.

“I wear it pretty hard when we don’t play well,” he said. “But you have to at least treat your family the right way, and I don’t think I do a very great job of that all the time.”

A season far from ideal

It was especially bad this season, his 20th, as the Tigers tumbled to a 20-33 record, capped off by a 15-game losing streak in Southeastern Conference play. His overall record since the team moved to the SEC is 38-65, which has raised questions about his job status as head coach.

A Missouri spokesman could not be reached for comment Monday regarding Jamieson's future.

The coach knows this season was far from ideal.

“I’ll wear this year for a long time,” Jamieson said.

But he's felt the stresses of good and bad seasons his entire life. He grew up in Columbia, graduating from Rock Bridge High School in 1977. His father, Dick, served as offensive coordinator for the Missouri football team from 1972-1977 and later coached in the NFL.

Jamieson served as a ballboy while his father was coaching at MU. He knew at a young age that coaching comes with big-time expectations from fans — and that the dynamic can be difficult for a family.

“I can remember one game that I did go up in the stands, and I stayed for like ten minutes,” he said. “The person that I don’t know how she survived is my mom.”

Cindy Jamieson has her own ways of managing.

The fact that the couple has two sons — Mickey and the younger, Ty, both students at Rock Bridge High School — has helped her cope with the coaching lifestyle.

Before kids, everything was focused on baseball. Cindy Jamieson was a schoolteacher for some time, but her own competitive personality gave the ups and downs of her husband’s job a lot more weight. It was particularly tough when Missouri struggled to a 19-34 record in 1995, Tim Jamieson’s first year as head coach.

“He kept telling me 'Losing makes you stronger,' and I kept thinking ‘OK, but winning would be really a lot more fun,’” Cindy Jamieson said. 

Finding distraction, ways to cope

Jamieson tries to find outlets, various distractions for his mind. He likes to read — never fiction and not very much about sports. He’s been reading a lot of books about dogs and people’s experiences with dogs, ever since the family got Stella, a golden retriever. He likes to read about history, too.

He singled out Erik Larson’s "The Devil in the White City" and Laura Hillenbrand’s "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" as recent favorites. Cindy Jamieson said that her husband can make it through three to four books in a single road trip.

Stella helps, too, because a dog's love is not contingent on a baseball team's wins and losses. When he’s home, Jamieson takes her for walks, which dovetails with exercise, another way he manages stress and the physical toll of coaching.

The job hasn’t become easier or less taxing, though, and Jamieson hasn’t become better at coping with failure in his 20 years as head coach of the Tigers.

“You try to find distractions,” Tim Jamieson said. “But ultimately, as soon as you put the book down, you go back to it … I don’t think your mind ever completely goes away from it. You accumulate more memories, and they don’t go away either.”

Supervising editor is Mark Selig.

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