ASU coaches get scare as small plane plunges

McClatchy news servicesNovember 5, 2013 

Arizona State coach Todd Graham was on a recruiting trip with his son Bo, an ASU assistant, when their small plane began experiencing mechanical problems. Pilots made a safe emergency landing.

MATT KARTOZIAN/USA TODAY SPORTS

Arizona State coach Todd Graham appeared to still be a bit shaken after a plane he was riding in with his son during a recruiting trip over the weekend plummeted about 25,000 feet before leveling off and making an emergency landing.

“It was really kind of surreal,” Graham said Monday. “It was very, very scary.”

Graham and son Bo, Arizona State’s running backs coach, were flying to Dallas to watch a recruit play when they were startled by a loud noise as their small plane hit 35,000 feet.

Father and son awoke to find the plane shaking, sirens going off and the pilots putting on their oxygen masks. Not long after, father and son put on their oxygen masks, and the plane went into a dive as the pilots tried to control it.

“They were working pretty frantically to stabilize it,” Graham said.

With the plane still descending and the Grahams not sure of what was happening, Todd Graham climbed out of his seat and went to the cockpit.

“There weren’t saying anything. I got up out of my chair about halfway through and grabbed the guy by the shoulder, asked him if the engines were still on,” he said. “He looked at me kind of startled, like why was I out of my chair, but I kind of have a problem with control. He looked at me and said, ‘Yes, the engines are still on, go back and sit down.’ ”

Graham did go back to his seat, and the plane, which had depressurized, leveled off around 10,000 feet. The pilots were able to make an emergency landing at an airport in Albuquerque, N.M.

Todd and Bo spent a few hours there before another plane arrived to take them to Dallas. They made it just before kickoff of the recruit’s game and had an uneventful return flight home.

COLORFUL UNIFORMS

Northwestern is apologizing for any misconceptions about uniforms it plans to wear against Michigan next week. The Wildcats will trade their familiar purple for red, white and blue when they play host to the Wolverines on Nov. 16 to honor the Wounded Warrior Project, which supports wounded service members.

The uniforms show what to some look like blood stains on a flag. Northwestern spokesman Paul Kennedy said Monday that it’s a “distressed pattern on both the stars and stripes that was inspired by the appearance of a flag that has flown proudly over a long period of time” and apologized “for any misinterpretation.”

EXTRA POINTS

Wisconsin star linebacker Chris Borland doesn’t plan to miss another game because of a hamstring injury. The 21st-ranked Badgers (6-2) play BYU on Saturday. … Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk is expected to start again this week in place of injured James Franklin. Coach Gary Pinkel said Monday that Franklin is questionable. … A former Miami defensive lineman who tweeted that he would pay $1,000 to any Hurricane who “takes … out” a Florida State player has lost his job as a sports radio host. Dan Sileo, who was fired Monday, said he intended the tweet as a joke.

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