There are few people in the U.S. under as much stress as the 128 head football coaches at FCS programs around the nation. That stress is only multiplied for the 14 at the helm in the SEC.
Everybody needs an escape. That’s the theme of an ESPN story that appears in the college football preview edition of ESPN The Magazine. Some walk in solitude, others try to blend in with society (easier for, say, Pete Carroll at USC than Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa).
The only person Saban has to worry about recognizing him, though, is a fellow SEC program head. He and Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze both own property on the shores of Lake Burton in northeast Georgia. Saban enjoys floating around the lake on a pontoon boat with his wife, ESPN reports, and will occasionally make the unannounced visit.
Hugh Freeze of Ole Miss, who also has a place there, says Saban “just shows up at my place on his Jet Ski.” The six-time national champion explains: “I have two normals. I have football normal, and I have lake normal.”
Vince Dooley, the former Georgia coach, also enjoys to retreat to Lake Burton, though he finds himself questioning if anyone would actually recognize him anymore.
Fans in Tuscaloosa can find a bust where the real-life Bear Bryant used to eat breakfast nearly every weekday until his death 33 years ago.
As for the Old Ball Coach, before he retired last season?
Now-retired legend Steve Spurrier, widely known as the most competitive coach-golfer, is also a ravenous reader who kept a huge library at home and the office, half football, half non-football.