Countdown to Kickoff
Mike Price Named Alabama's New Head Football Coach


Wednesday, December 18, 2002


TUSCALOOSA, Ala -- Mike Price, 56, was selected today as the 25th head football coach at The University of Alabama, it was announced by Athletics Director Mal Moore.

"I have known Mike Price for many years through the coaching profession and the relationship we both had with Jim Sweeney (former Montana State head coach, 1963-67)," Moore said. "I feel we have hired an outstanding person as well as an excellent football coach."

"We are excited about Mike becoming part of the Alabama family and we look forward to this new era of Alabama football."

Price comes to Alabama after serving the previous 14 seasons as head coach at Washington State University.  During his tenure with the Cougars, Price compiled an 83-77 record, including back-to-back 10-win seasons in Pullman.

Prior to his tenure at WSU, Price served as head coach at Weber State University from 1981-88, where he compiled a 46-44 record in eight years.  His 22-year head coaching record stands at 129-121 with three conference championships.

His 2002 WSU squad posted a 10-2 overall record and shared the Pac-10 championship with Southern California.  Washington State defeated Southern California (30-27) in overtime this season in Pullman.  The Cougars received a Bowl Championship Series berth and will play the Oklahoma Sooners in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 2003 in Pasadena. The Cougars only two losses this season came at No. 2 Ohio State (25-7) and against Washington (29-26 in triple overtime).

Washington State boasted the league's second-best offense and third-best defense this past season.  The Cougars averaged 436.8 yards per game, while allowing 338.8 yards per game.  In terms of rushing defense, WSU was second in the Pac-10, allowing just 82.3 yards per game.  The Cougars also led the league and ranked among the Top 5 nationally with 52 sacks this season.

Much of the WSU offense rested on the shoulders of signal caller Jason Gesser, who completed 219-of-368 passes for 3,169 yards this season.  He had 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

The stingy defense was centered around junior defensive tackle Rien Long, who was named the winner of the Outland Trophy at the Home Depot College Football Awards aired Dec. 12 on ESPN.

Presented to the nation's best interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Long became the first WSU player to ever receive a national individual award. Long was also named first team All-America by the FWAA.

Long, a 6-6, 286-pound native of Anacortes, Wash., was a dominant force for the Cougars this season, totaling 20.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks. In an October showdown with USC, he racked up four tackles for loss, including two in overtime, to lead WSU past the Trojans. Long tallied 45 tackles from his interior position on the line and also batted away three passes.

Over the last two years, Price has led Washington State to a 20-4 (.833) overall record, including a 13-3 (.813) mark in conference games. 

Price led the Cougs to three 10-wins seasons (1997, 2001 and 2002) during his 14-year tenure.  The 10-2 record in 1997 was the first 10-win season for Washington State since the Cougars posted a 10-2 mark under legendary coach O.E. Hollingbery in 1929.

The 2001 season culminated in a victory over Purdue in the Sun Bowl.  After posting a 10-2 record, Price was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year and was one of three finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.  Despite being picked to finish last in the conference, Price steered WSU into a tie for second, landing 19 players on the All-Pac 10 list and 14 players on the all-academic team. Senior free safety Lamont Thompson was an AP First-Team All-American.

He also guided the most successful gridiron season in 67 years in 1997.  The resulting honors included Pac-10 Conference and numerous national coach-of-the-year awards, including Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year, Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year (by the FWAA) and The Sporting News Coach of the Year.

In 1997, WSU finished the regular season with a 10-1 record and captured a share of the Pac-10 Conference championship with a 7-1 league record.  The Cougars then earned a berth in the Rose Bowl, where they lost to eventual national champion Michigan (21-16).  It was WSU's first Rose Bowl appearance since Jan. 1, 1931, when the Cougars suffered a 24-0 loss to Wallace Wade's undefeated and national champion Alabama Crimson Tide.

Price is considered a "player's coach" a philosophy he developed as a Cougar graduate assistant in the late 1960s.  At the time, Price was coaching the Cougar freshman team.  During a mid-year vacation, a member of the frosh team (Jay Gulledge, Vashon Island, Wash.) was killed in an automobile accident while home for the break.  "That really got me to thinking," Price remembers to this day.  "I never told that player how much he meant to me and how much I loved him.  I decided then to make sure my players know how much I care for them."

Price truly keeps an open door philosophy in his office complex.  "What could I be doing getting ready for a game or practice that is more important than a player's problem?" he reasons.  He constantly seeks input from the team's player committee, a group that includes position and class representatives.

Only one Cougar coach with a tenure of more than five years as compiled a better record than Price.  Hollingbery, who coached WSU for 17 years, compiled a 93-53 mark.

During his 14 seasons in Pullman, Price coached four Cougars picked in the first round of the National Football League Draft.  The first was Steve Broussard, the 20th pick in 1990.  In 1992, New England made WSU quarterback Drew Bledsoe the top pick in the draft, while in 1994 linebacker Mark Fields was the 15th player selected.  In the spring of 1998 Ryan Leaf joined the list of first rounders when he was selected the second pick of the NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers.

Price is the only coach in the 100-plus year history of the program to coach WSU to five bowl games, including the the 1992 Copper Bowl, 1994 Alamo Bowl, 1998 Rose Bowl, 2001 Sun Bowl and 2003 Rose Bowl.

In addition to his success at Washington State, Price has also been noticed on the national scene as well, coaching in several post-season all-star games.  Price has been selected as the head coach for the West squad in the 2003 East-West Shrine game played a Pac Bell Park in San Francisco on Jan. 11, 2003.  Price also served as the West head coach in the 1998 Hula Bowl.  In 1995, he was the associate head coach for the West squad in the East-West Shrine game.  In 1993, he was the offensive head coach for the North team in the Kelly Tires Blue-Gray All-Star Football Classic in Montgomery, Ala.

Price replaced Dennis Erickson as head coach at Washington State following the 1988 season.  In his first year, Price guided the Cougars to a 6-5 record and was tabbed by The Sporting News as the Pac-10's Coach of the Year.

Before his successful tenure at WSU began, Price resurrected a struggling Weber State program in 1981 that had not produced a winning record in 10 years.  In his first season, the Wildcats finished 7-4 after losing to eventual NCAA 1-AA national champion Idaho State in triple overtime.

In 1987, Price guided the Big Sky Conference team to a 10-3 record and into the quarterfinals of the NCAA 1-AA Playoffs.  Weber State finished the conference season 7-1 to tie for the Big Sky title.  The regular season record (9-2) and conference record (7-1) are the best marks in Weber State history.

Price, who graduated from Everett (Wash.) High School in 1964, attended Everett Junior College for one year, then played two seasons at Washington State under Bert Clark.  A redshirt quarterback his first season with the Cougars, Price moved to the secondary his second year.

Price finished his collegiate career at the University of Puget Sound, where he played two years, 1967 and 1968, and captained the Loggers as a senior before graduating in 1969 with a bachelor's degree in physical education.

Price served two coaching stints with the Cougars, the first as a graduate assistant coach for Jim Sweeney, 1969-70.  After receiving his master's degree from WSU, he served as offensive coordinator for three years at Puget Sound, 1971-73.

Price returned to Washington State in 1974 as running backs coach under Sweeney.  In 1976, when Jackie Sherrill took over the program, Price remained on the staff.  A year later when Warren Powers was named head coach, Price remained as recruiting coordinator and running backs coach.

During his stint with the Cougars, he coached Heisman Trophy candidate Jack Thompson and running back Dan Doornink.  In 1976 under Sherrill, the Cougars led the nation in passing offense.

In 1978, Price followed Powers to the University of Missouri, where he served for three years as quarterback and receivers coach.  The Tigers played in the 1978 Liberty Bowl, 1979 Hall of Fame Bowl at Birmingham's Legion Field and the 1980 Liberty Bowl.  One of the star pupils on offense was quarterback Phil Bradley, a three-time All-Big 8 selection (1978-80) under Price's tutelage.

Price is married to the former Joyce Taylor.  The couple has three children, Eric (35), Aaron (31) and Angie (27).  They are truly a football family.  Eric played football at Weber State and coached under his father at Washington State before moving on to the New York Jets.  Aaron played two years at WSU, and after two stints as a Cougar graduate assistant and at Missouri Western, returned to Washington State as quarterbacks and kickers coach.  Angie, a 1997 graduate of WSU, is married to a high school athletics director.


Hired:      December 18, 2002
            Head Football Coach, The University of Alabama

Born:       April 6, 1946, Denver, Co.

Education:  Puget Sound University
            Physical Education (1969)

            Washington State University
            Masters of Art in Teaching, Physical Education (1975)

Family:     Wife: Joyce
            Children: Eric (35), Aaron (31) and Angie (27)


                            OVERALL        CONFERENCE
YEAR  SCHOOL               W    L    T     W    L    T   FINISH
1981  Weber State          7    4    0     5    2    0   4th
1982  Weber State          4    7    0     2    5    0   7th
1983  Weber State          6    5    0     3    4    0   5th
1984  Weber State          5    6    0     3    4    0   6th
1985  Weber State          6    5    0     4    3    0   5th
1986  Weber State          3    8    0     2    5    0   8th-T
1987  Weber State         10    3    0     7    1    0   1st-T
1988  Weber State          5    6    0     4    4    0   4th-T
1989  Washington State     6    5    0     3    5    0   7th-T
1990  Washington State     3    8    0     2    5    0   9th
1991  Washington State     4    7    0     3    5    0   6th-T
1992  Washington State     9    3    0     5    3    0   3rd-T
1993  Washington State     5    6    0     3    5    0   6th
1994  Washington State     8    3    0     5    3    0   4th
1995  Washington State     3    8    0     2    6    0   8th-T
1996  Washington State     5    6    0     3    5    0   5th-T
1997  Washington State    10    2    0     7    1    0   1st-T
1998  Washington State     3    8    0     0    8    0   10th
1999  Washington State     3    9    0     1    7    0   10th
2000  Washington State     4    7    0     2    6    0   8th-T
2001  Washington State    10    2    0     6    2    0   2nd-T
2002  Washington State    10    2    0     7    1    0   1st-T
      CAREER TOTALS      129  121    0    79   90    0


2002       Head Football Coach
           The University of Alabama
           Named the school's 25th head coach on Dec. 18, 2002

1989-2002  Head Football Coach
           Washington State University

1981-88    Head Football Coach
           Weber State University

1978-80    Quarterbacks and Receivers Coach
           University of Missouri

1974-77    Running Backs Coach
           Washington State University

1971-73    Offensive Coordinator
           University of Puget Sound

1969-70    Graduate Assistant Coach
           Washington State University

1967-68    Player
           University of Puget Sound
           Team Captain, 1968

1965-66    Player
           Washington State University
           Quarterback and Defensive Back


Head Coach
1992 Copper Bowl: Washington State 31, Utah 28
1994 Alamo Bowl: Washington State 10, Baylor 3
1998 Rose Bowl: Michigan 21, Washington State 16
2001 Sun Bowl: Washington State 33, Purdue 27

Assistant Coach
1978 Liberty Bowl: Missouri 20, Louisiana State 15
1979 Hall of Fame: Missouri 24, South Carolina 14
1980 Liberty Bowl: Purdue 28, Missouri 25