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Mike Price’s Legendary Coaching Career Comes To An End

UTEP Athletic Director Bob Stull coming over to hug Coach Price following the Miners’ game against Rice. (photo by Brandon Cohn)

His journey began 31 years ago as the head coach of Weber State, and ended on Saturday at the Sun Bowl with the UTEP Miners.  Mike Price’s 9 year run as the head coach of the Miners finished with a 33-24 loss to Rice.

The scene after the game was truly magical, as Coach Price, his wife Joyce, and their son Aaron stood on the field and watched a video tribute to UTEP’s 20 Seniors.  Their feelings about the moment was evident, you could see it in their eyes. Once the Senior tribute video finished, a video to honor Coach Price was displayed on the jumbo tron.

Life is about special moments, and for Mike Price and his family, it was one of those moments that they will never forget.  After all, Coach Price ended his brilliant career as the 6th winningest coach in college football history with 177 victories.  Price’s tenure ended at UTEP with a record of 48-61, his 48 wins mark the second most victories for a UTEP head coach, second only to Mack Saxon.

The crowd at the Sun Bowl could be described as friends and family for Mike Price’s final game as the UTEP head coach. (photo by Brandon Cohn)

One thing that saddens me is that more fans did not show up for “Coach Mike Price appreciation day” at the Sun Bowl.  To say the crowd for the final game in the remarkable career of Mike Price was dismal would be an understatement.  I am not sure what the official attendance was, but there couldn’t of been more than 15,000 people at the season finale.

It is understandable that fans lost interest in this year’s team, after all they finished with a 3-9 record.  That is the worst record that Coach Price had while he was the head coach at UTEP.  However, people should not forget the fact that Mike Price put UTEP on the map.  He led them to 3 bowl appearances, and a top 25 ranking in the BCS polls for the first time in school history.

Additionally, Coach Price recruited some exceptional athletes, some of which went on to play in the NFL.  What Mike Price did was establish a winning way at UTEP, especially during his first 2 season with the team.  People forget that it is really difficult to get great football players to come play here.  UTEP has to compete with other schools in the state like Texas, A&M, Baylor, and Texas Tech.

Mike Price made the most of the resources that he had, and recruited the best players that he could get to come here.  Following the game I asked Coach Price what his most memorable experience at UTEP was, he had this to say,

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When asked how he would like people to remember his legacy at UTEP, Mike Price mentioned,

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There is little doubt that Mike Price will go down as one of best coaches that UTEP ever had in the history of the program.  One thing that many of his players mentioned was that he would always ask about their lives, and showed constant compassion for them as human beings.

I think that Miner fans will miss Coach Price quite a bit, after all whomever they hire to replace him, will surly not have a fraction of the experience that he had.  As the old cliche goes, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.  For Miner fans, and the city of El Paso, hiring Coach Price was the best thing that could of happened for UTEP football.  Thank you for 9 memorable seasons Coach Price!

 

 

 

 

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