The helicopter crash last month that killed former NBA star Kobe Bryant had a personal connection for Florida Gators football coach Dan Mullen.
Like Bryant, he often travels by helicopter “out of necessity” to save valuable time when he’s recruiting. “I have to get to these six locations in one day and that’s the only way you’re going to make that happen,” Mullen told reporters Wednesday.
“We have a lot of our coaches who aren’t big fans of it. My wife is not a big fan of it,” he said. “So obviously when you see those tragedies, I mean, it just — I mean, like our whole staff, that was kind of everybody in shock when we saw that.”
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Mullen said he and his assistant coaches were in a meeting the afternoon of Jan. 26, when a helicopter with Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California.
He said the tragedy does “give you pause” when considering various travel options, but Bryant’s death also gave Mullen, 47, a lot more to think about.
“It really makes you appreciate what you have and it makes you appreciate to go enjoy and live life every day,” he said. “I think he’s a guy who certainly did that, and if you want to judge success in life off of how much you impact people’s lives, I think the best way that you can judge success is how you impact other people’s lives.”