TEMPE, Ariz. — The way Arizona State coach Todd Graham talked on Sunday about beating Utah next weekend, you’d never know he’d come awfully close to never coaching another game in his life just days earlier.
Graham and his son, Bo, ASU’s running backs coach, survived a brush with death Friday when the small plane they were aboard on a recruiting trip to Dallas lost pressure and dropped about 25,000 feet in the air.
“We’re blessed to be here,” Graham said Sunday. “We had a little depressurization at about 35,000 feet, so it was a little scary, but I’m very blessed to be here.”
The plane, a small private charter with just the coaches and pilots aboard, stabilized around 10,000 feet. With the depressurization, the coaches had to put on emergency oxygen masks that dropped down from the ceiling of the plane while the pilots made an emergency landing in Albuquerque. There, Graham said, the coaches waited for a new plane before continuing on with the recruiting trip, which came a day after ASU’s Thursday night road victory over Washington State.
“We still got a job done,” Graham said. “It was a little scary, but we’re very lucky, very blessed to be here.”
This was not Graham’s first incident with an airplane on a recruiting trip. Last season, on a trip within Arizona, the plane Graham was aboard blew a tire upon landing and skidded down the runway.