What happens after coaching?

Jud Heathcote left East Lansing, Michigan, after he retired and headed west.

In Spokane, Washington, Heathcote's new home offered solace from the grind he'd embraced since the 1970s, the life he led until he handed over the Michigan State program to Tom Izzo in 1995.

He and his friends played the area's best golf courses for years. They even ventured to Idaho until his leg became too weak for the trips. He played handball and grabbed beers with his buddies until he was 75.

He still meets Gonzaga's Mark Few each month for lunch at Jack and Dan's, formerly owned by John Stockton's father. And the Manito Country Club sits across the street from his home. He gets there when he can.

He's content with his new life.

Although nearly 20 years into retirement, he's still uncertain about it.

"I'm not sure I enjoy anything about retirement," Heathcote, now 87, said. "Your time is your own. You're not regulated by things that others made you do. You make all the decisions yourself on how your time is spent. .... I've never been a great retirement guy."

Retirement, whether chosen or encouraged from external forces and factors, never goes down easy for college basketball coaches. The transition, rarely fluid, demands change for strong men who've followed a particular regimen for 30 or 40 years. They walked the sideline for decades, lived basketball -- the practices, games, recruiting, meetings.

"I don't think there's an easy way to do it," former UConn coach Jim Calhoun said.

And then it all stopped because time can't be stalled with a box-and-one scheme.

Some left due to health concerns. Others because folks in charge decided it was time. Only a few retired because they wanted to go. All believe "retirement" to be an inaccurate description of their existence after coaching.

One of Arizona's most passionate supporters is a white-haired man that most folks in Tucson just call a legend. He attends every Wildcats home game. He's assertive in his support of his favorite team. He's still fixated on the what-ifs surrounding a program that lost Brandon Ashley to injury in early February. And that offensive foul against Nick Johnson in the final minutes of Arizona's Elite Eight loss to Wisconsin?

"Terrible call," former Arizona coach Lute Olson said.

Today, Olson helps Arizona attract donors for both its academic and athletic programs. He's an ambassador for the school. But he doesn't meddle with the basketball program he led to a national title in 1997. He doesn't call Sean Miller to demand changes or offer advice. He's just another fan.

He likes it that way.

Sure, he misses some aspects of coaching, especially the opportunity to teach young men. But he's also enjoyed cheering -- and worrying -- as a fan in the stands.

"You're just a spectator," Olson said. "You can't do anything about what's going on down on the court. It is nerve-racking when there are so many close games."

The games continued for Nolan Richardson after he left college coaching. It was a messy exit.

He was fired at Arkansas in 2002. A layered lawsuit against the school followed.

"First of all, they retired me," Richardson said. "I didn't actually retire."

But that was his last stint in college coaching. Richardson eventually coached both the Panamanian and Mexican national teams. He also led the WNBA's Tulsa Shock.

He's most proud of his newfound time to frequent his grandkids' games, something he couldn't do during his tenure at Arkansas. Richardson, who has lost two children, works with charities that raise funds for diabetes and cancer.

He couldn't, however, find anything to compensate for that connection to his players he'd lost in the early months of transition. That's the only thing he missed.

Golf became his therapy. He even turned a spot on his ranch -- occupied by horses, camels, pigs and chickens -- into a personal driving range.

There, he found late-night peace and an unorthodox weight-loss program.

"I beat up golf balls," Richardson said. "I spent a lot of time hitting a lot of golf balls. It gave me something to do every day. It's amazing. I even forgot to eat sometimes I'd be out there so long. I easily lost 15 pounds. I got my weight smaller than I was like 20 years ago, 30 years ago. I was 234 when I left for Tulsa [in 1981]. Today, I weigh 231. I got up as big as 250."

Tom Penders had the second of two open heart surgeries after he retired in 2010, the same year he led Houston to the NCAA tournament. But he stays busy.

He travels often with his wife. He's written a book, "Dead Coach Walking." He interacts with his Twitter followers.

But he and his wife had to make an adjustment a few years ago. She'd committed herself to the coaching life, too. And when Penders came home for good, he said, things were different.

"I guess being around me so much, I was afraid she'd kick me out," Penders half-joked. "All of a sudden, I'm stepping into her space."

He's content with his achievements, those seven stops and 648 wins. He, like his peers, still reminisces about the bond he formed with his players and the court that was his chalkboard for so many years. Yet he gained more than he lost. They all did.

They don't have to call AAU coaches and parents anymore. They don't have to hit the road for back-to-back conference road games. They no longer field calls from concerned academic advisers or mothers. They're done with the postgame interviews.

"I don't miss the [crap]," Penders said.

Calhoun agrees.

"I think, like anything else, it is a certain routine," he said. "I miss the kids. I miss the competition. I miss the camaraderie."

The minutiae of the game? He can do without that.

But there's still a passion there. Calhoun left coaching because he suffered a broken hip during a cycling accident. He didn't think it was fair to miss six months with rehab.

He's taken advantage of the time off. He's traveled to Cabo San Lucas and Aruba with his wife. And a memorable trip to Israel allowed him to advocate for UConn's academics and athletics programs. He loved it.

He's healthy now, though. Calhoun said he feels great. He's recovered. And sometimes, he talks to his friend Larry Brown and wonders.

"In a perfection situation, a Larry Brown situation, I would consider [a return]," Calhoun said.

They've all left the game. But the game can't take a hint. It remains.

Even for Heathcote.

He still attends Gonzaga's home games, and he watches Michigan State matchups each week during the season, too.

"It's different," Heathcote said. "I don't think you ever take the coaching out of the coach. I think you adjust to your situation and that's what, maybe, I've done."