Nick Saban, Gary Pinkel say they once crashed motorcycles, too

As it turns out, Bobby Petrino isn't the only SEC coach with a jones for motorcycles ... or even the only one fortunate to walk away from a crash on one.

In a candid turn at the post-practice podium Wednesday, Alabama's Nick Saban related a detailed story from his youth in West Virginia involving a friend's motorcycle, one that ended with Saban picking himself off the pavement.

"My best friend Charlie Anderson had a Triumph, and I mean that thing was hot," Saban said. "Every time no one was looking, I'd get on Charlie's Triumph. I took it to my girlfriend's house, and she lived on the side of the mountain, and there was a curve, and the water was running across the street, and a dog was chasing me down the street."
Result? The next thing on the street was Saban and the Triumph
"I didn't get hurt, didn't hurt the bike, just slid out," Saban said. "My dad found out about that, and that's the last time I've been on a motorcycle."

But as recorded by, Saban admitted he's still looking for the same kind of adrenaline rush away from the football field.

"I try to enjoy life," he said. "I still water ski. I ride them jet skis as fast as they'll go, and every two years I get the fastest ones they make to replace the last ones ... There's not very many things that I like to do, so ... I try not to be stupid, but I'm not going to not do things that I enjoy doing."

It's a sensible, applaudable stance, and a good reflection of why even though Petrino needed to be much, much smarter about how he rides -- once you've bought two helmets and have them ready on the kitchen table, you should really, really put one of them on, we're thinking -- saying he shouldn't ride at all is going far too far.

That's also no doubt the stance of Missouri's Gary Pinkel, who confirmed Monday he's ridden Harley-Davidsons "for years" and once also suffered an accident similar to Petrino's. He called Petrino following the Arkansas coach's accident to wish him well.

"I said, 'I'm glad he's doing well. I've been there,'" Pinkel said he told his secretary.

The bottom line is that for men who have been intense enough, committed enough, organized enough, driven enough to succeed the way Saban, Pinkel and Petrino have in a profession as cutthroat as Division I football coaching, the usual (safer) methods of stress relief may just not cut it. If Petrino's accident isn't the last of its kind among major college football coaches -- possibly even among coaches within in the SEC -- we won't be surprised.

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