Our latest "Thursday Night Spotlight" feature subject is a man who - according to WMU Head Coach Steve Hawkins - has always appreciated life, but trust me when I say that appreciation has increased tenfold, after an unexpected summer scare.
There are few things in life that Dan Hoff, the director of Western Michigan University Basketball operations, enjoys more than spending time with his granddaughter.
Hoff said, “Little Roslyn, she owns me. She's gregarious, funny, very gentle and loving.”
Hoff's other great passion is competing in triathlons. He even found time to train while travelling with the Broncos basketball team.
Hoff said, “I kept myself fit on our road trips, I would walk every step in the arena it's part of what I do.”
While he was in full training mode over the summer he was biking 80 miles, and also swimming two or three miles per week.
All that changed in July.
“In the first 10 days of July I had four different cardiac episodes.” He said, “Each one the legs were heavy, chest tight, breathing more labored. It wasn't until the fourth one, that I didn't think anything was really wrong.”
He learned on July 12 that he had four blocked arteries and would have to undergo open heart triple bypass surgery just six days later.
His surgeon told him afterwards that if the 64-year-old hadn’t push himself so hard during training, his condition would have gone undetected and the husband and father of two would most likely have been dead within a year.
Hoff said, “I've got four fouls on me and it's only the third quarter. And I have got to sit on the bench and get ready for the fourth quarter. I think what sports helped me realize.”
He said the scare helped him see things more clearly and gave him true empathy.
He said, “I'm thankful for a second chance. I value things I overlooked before, like time with my granddaughter.”