Mike Price

Mike Price
Mike Price
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Title Head coach
Conference Conference USA
Record 40–45
Annual salary $260,000[1]
Biographical details
Born April 6, 1946 (1946-04-06) (age 65)
Place of birth Denver, Colorado
Playing career
Washington State
Puget Sound
Position(s) Quarterback, defensive back
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Washington State (GA)
Puget Sound (OC)
Washington State (RB)
Missouri (QB/WR)
Weber State
Washington State
Alabama (no games)
Head coaching record
Overall 169–167
Bowls 3–4
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
2 Pac-10 (1997, 2002)
Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award (1997)
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year (1997)
Home Depot Coach of the Year Award (1997)
Sporting News College Football COY (1997)
2x Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1997, 2001)

Mike Price (born April 6, 1946) is an American football coach. He is currently the head coach at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), a position he has held since 2004. Price was previously the head coach at Weber State University (1981–1988), Washington State University (1989–2002), and the University of Alabama, the last from which he was fired before coaching a game in 2003.


Early years

Price grew up in Everett, Washington, twenty five miles (40 km) north of Seattle. He was the son of Walt Price, the longtime head football coach at Everett Junior College. At Everett High School, Price was a teammate of Dennis Erickson, the son of Pinky Erickson, the head coach at cross-town rival Cascade High. Everett High was coached by Bill Dunn, a next-door neighbor of the Ericksons. Dennis Erickson was a year behind Price, but took his job as starting quarterback mid-way through Price's senior year, and Price was moved to defense as a safety. The team finished 9–1. Price went on to play at Everett Junior College, Washington State, and finally at Puget Sound, where he co-captained the football team and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.[2]

Price met his wife, the former Joyce Taylor, in kindergarten in the early 1950s. They were married at age 19 and have three children: two sons (who are his assistant coaches) and a daughter.

Assistant coaching career

Price started his coaching career in 1969 as a graduate assistant for two seasons at Washington State, then was the offensive coordinator at his alma mater, UPS, for three. He returned to WSU for four seasons in 1974 as the running backs coach, where he unsuccessfully recruited future baseball hall-of-famer Ryne Sandberg to play quarterback.[3] His final job as an assistant coach was at Missouri, where he coached the quarterbacks and wide receivers for three years, from 1978 to 1980.

Head coaching career

Weber State

Following the 1980 season, Price landed his first head coaching position at Weber State of the Division I-AA Big Sky Conference, a job for which friend Dennis Erickson was also a finalist. Erickson would get the Idaho job the next year, and returned the favor (following the 1986 season) by beating out Price for the Washington State job. Upon leaving just two years later for Miami, Erickson recommended Price, who got the WSU job and then rented Erickson's Pullman home. Price was head coach at Weber State through 1988, compiling a 46–44 record in eight seasons. His best season was 1987, when the Wildcats went 9–2 (6–1 in conference), and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Division I-AA playoffs to finish at 10–3.

Washington State

On the field, Price was noted for his successful head coaching work at Washington State, where he served for fourteen seasons, from 19892002. At WSU, he compiled a record of 83–78, with three 10-win seasons and five bowl appearances. His last two seasons at "Wazzu" combined for a 20–5 record (13–3 in the Pac-10). Price's 2002 team compiled a 7–1 mark in the conference and advanced to the Rose Bowl, where they were defeated by the Oklahoma Sooners 14-34. Five years earlier in 1997, Price was named National Coach of the Year, as the Cougars returned to the Rose Bowl after more than sixty years.


Price may be best known nationally for an off-the-field incident during his brief stint at Alabama. In December 2002, he was hired in principle to replace Dennis Franchione as the head coach of the Crimson Tide. Price was at Alabama during the 2003 spring practice, in May his contract was rescinded shortly after news reports surfaced of an incident during a trip to Pensacola, Florida, where Price was playing in a golf tournament.[4] A story in Sports Illustrated said that Price had been seen at a strip club. He allegedly later checked into a local hotel with at least one female exotic dancer from the club. The magazine further alleged Price had sex with one of the strippers, a claim which Price denied, although he acknowledged being intoxicated on the evening in question. He filed a $20 million libel and defamation suit against Sports Illustrated. Price received some vindication in 2005 when the magazine settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed sum.


On December 21, 2003, Texas-El Paso announced the hiring of Price as its new head coach.[5] At the press conference, Price said, "I feel reborn. I think this is the right situation for me. My dad told me a long time ago if you go somewhere where you're wanted and needed, your chances for success are a lot better. I want to be here. It's a match made in heaven."[citation needed] In his first season in 2004, he led the Miners to an 8–4 record and a berth in the Houston Bowl, where they lost to Colorado. The season was an astounding turnaround for the Miners, who had won only two games in each of their previous three seasons. At one time during the 2004 season, UTEP earned its first-ever ranking in the AP Poll, rising as high as 23rd. Price was a finalist for Eddie Robinson Award and the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award for coach of the year.

In 2010, Price became the second Miner coach to take UTEP to three bowl games, after Mike Brumbelow, who led the Miners to the Sun Bowl in 1954, 1955 and 1957.[6]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Weber State Wildcats (Big Sky Conference) (1981–1988)
1981 Weber State 7–4 4–3 T–4th
1982 Weber State 4–7 2–5 7th
1983 Weber State 6–5 4–3 T–5th
1984 Weber State 5–6 3–4 6th
1985 Weber State 6–5 4–3 4th
1986 Weber State 3–8 2–5 T–6th
1987 Weber State 10–3 6–1 2nd 1–1 I-AA Quarterfinals
1988 Weber State 5–6 3–4 T–4th
Weber State: 46–44 28–28
Washington State Cougars (Pacific-10 Conference) (1989–2002)
1989 Washington State 6–5 3–5 8th
1990 Washington State 3–8 2–6 9th
1991 Washington State 4–7 3–5 T–6th
1992 Washington State 9–3 5–3 T–3rd W Copper 17 15
1993 Washington State 5–6 3–5 7th
1994 Washington State 8–4 5–3 4th W Alamo 19 21
1995 Washington State 3–8 2–6 T–8th
1996 Washington State 5–6 3–5 T–8th
1997 Washington State 10–2 7–1 T–1st L Rose 9 9
1998 Washington State 3–8 0–8 10th
1999 Washington State 3–9 1–7 10th
2000 Washington State 4–7 2–6 T–8th
2001 Washington State 10–2 6–2 T–2nd W Sun 11 10
2002 Washington State 10–3 7–1 T–1st L Rose 10 10
Washington State: 83–78 49–63
UTEP Miners (Western Athletic Conference) (2004)
2004 UTEP 8–4 6–2 2nd L Houston
UTEP Miners (Conference USA) (2005–present)
2005 UTEP 8–4 5–3 2nd (West) L GMAC
2006 UTEP 5–7 3–5 5th (West)
2007 UTEP 4–8 2–6 5th (West)
2008 UTEP 5–7 4–4 4th (West)
2009 UTEP 4–8 3–5 T–3rd (West)
2010 UTEP 6–7 3–5 T–4th (West) L New Mexico
UTEP: 40–45 26–30
Total: 169–167
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


  • "Out of Everett," 'The Seattle Times' Pacific Magazine, Sunday, August 13, 1995, p. 12-17.

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