Jen Smith on UK Football

Nick Saban’s side of the Youngstown bar robbery story

Kentucky will take on Alabama and its head coach, Nick Saban, this Saturday.
Kentucky will take on Alabama and its head coach, Nick Saban, this Saturday. AP

You know the joke that always starts with “three guys walk into a bar?” Well, Alabama Coach Nick Saban has quite the variation on that story and it famously involves one of the uncles of Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops.

The uncle, named Bob Stoops like Mark’s older brother at Oklahoma, was sitting at a bar in Youngstown called The Talk of the Town with then-Michigan State defensive coordinator Saban talking football.

“We’re talking about football; we’re arguing about stuff,” Saban recalled on an ESPN “Inside the Program” feature in 2015. “And somebody came in with a shotgun and held the bartender up and left. We didn’t know what happened.”

Apparently the two coaches had been so engrossed in football talk they totally missed the robbery.

“I always thought my uncle was full of it,” Mark Stoops said of the story, which he related to the UK media on Monday. “You know, he’s a little crazy. I said, ‘You’re exaggerating this story.’ But I heard Coach Saban say it on one of his shows that he was on.

“He verified it, so that was like, ‘Wow, Bob, you were telling the truth.’ You never know what you’re going to get in Youngstown.”

  Comments