Gary Anders, Ridgewood’s athletic director and former boys basketball coach, was rushed to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson early Saturday morning after suffering a heart attack.
By Monday afternoon, the iconic Ridgewood coach was showing some of his old spirit, cracking jokes from his hospital bed, according to Anders’ son, Joe, who was a Ridgewood assistant coach.
Joe Anders said his father had a stent put in and is expected to be released later this week.
Anders, 57, woke his wife at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday and told her, “We’ve got to go,” Joe Anders said.
“My mom drove him to the hospital,” he said. “She walked away from him for a few seconds and when she returned there were eight doctors around him.”
The opening where the stent was installed has been slow to heal, which will delay putting in a second stent. Joe said his family is optimistic that his father will be back at work within a few weeks.
One sign his father is regaining some of his energy: he was concerned he might miss Joe’s bachelor party, a deep sea fishing trip, in two weeks.
Joe said there was no indication of what caused the heart attack and his father had recently lost almost 30 pounds via Nutrisystem.
“When I first saw him he was mad,” Joe said. “I don’t think he was scared of what happened, he was mad he let himself get to this point. …It’s weird that he lost all that weight and it happened.”
Anders resigned last month from coaching after 31 seasons and 560 victories. He planned to continue teaching and working as Ridgewood’s athletic director through his final year of the Deferred Retirement Option Program.
Joe Anders said it was unclear if his father’s heart is damaged, but he will have to change his diet. He spoke with a couple of Ridgewood teachers, who also had stents, and they had encouraging words.
“They both felt like they’re 20 years younger,” Joe Anders said. “They said now he’s just another member of the club.”