Will Mike Price Be Back?
After an embarrassing New Mexico Bl loss to BYU, Mike Price entered the podium at New Mexico stadium to meet the media. He answered every question pertaining to the loss just like he has over the last 7 years. Honest, calm, and at times, even upbeat. The only question that had not been asked was if he would be back as head coach of the Miners next season. I decided to ask that question because it needed to be addressed. At first, Coach Price gave an honest answer by saying that he'd like to be back and that he didn't want to end his coaching career on a losing note. Then, he thanked me for putting him on the spot and began to take the question very personal. I was shocked because Mike Price has never let any question rattle him since he arrived at UTEP in January 2004. But this question seemed to touch a nerve.
Personally, I like Mike Price, both as a person and as a head coach. I always have enjoyed him and love the way he has embraced the city and community. He is the perfect ambassador for UTEP football and has made the program legitimate. I understand that he wants to exit on a positive note. The season looked promising with 5 wins in 6 games. But then the season turned ugly and the Miners finished with losses in 6 of their last 7 games. Attendance was bad for most home games, despite all of the early season wins. UTEP President Diana Natalicio and Athletic Director Bob Stull will have a very interesting decision to make over the next few weeks. UTEP is losing 23 seniors and will have huge holes to fill on both sides of the ball. If Mike Price returns as head coach, he will face a huge challenge to produce a winning season for the first time since 2005. The one thing you can say about Coach Price is that all of his teams have been competitive. All you have to do is travel up I-25 to the University of New Mexico and see how replacing a winner with a new coach can prove disastrous.