Price Bows Out

The Price is wrong b*tch.

From the following video link, old friend Mike Price has officially withdrawn his name from consideration for the head job at WSU. The Seattle Times has the story here. Surprised? Actually, no. Based on some things we have heard recently, it sounded like Price was further down the list than it initially appeared. We have also heard here through a reliable source that his wife Joyce wants to get back to the area, asap, and Price has purchased even more land recently as he sets up retirement plans. But clearly he has either seen the writing on the wall or was told flat-out that they were going in another direction. Price did say that he was a viable candidate and was interested, but he never actually interviewed for the job.

There is possibly an “ugly”, business-side to this story too, however. We wrote about this a few days ago, that maybe Price is kinda-sorta on the list in order to help him get a better contract at UTEP. Well, El Paso Times writer Joe Muench goes into detail that Price is pushing hard for a contract extension and/or a decent raise, but the turnip might be dry down there (Did you know Price’s base salary is only $260K!?!? That’s less than half of Doba’s salary! Wow. I know there are some incentives, but man, that’s super-cheap.) But the thing that struck me is reading some of the comments from UTEP fans. It appears that things aren’t as wonderful that Price says they are in El Paso??

Anyway, from a WSU angle, this is the strongest sign yet that they are close to pulling the trigger here. If this thing was going to drag out too much longer, I would tend to believe Price would remain on the interview list, but he wouldn’t publicly pull out like this unless he knew they were headed in a specific direction.

I’ve never been 100% behind the idea of Price returning, for reasons that have been brought up time and again. But I have to admit I’m a little sad about this. I’m a sentimental guy, and how can I ever forget what Price gave us? He did lead us to the highest of highs as a program, and for that I’ll always be thankful. The 10-win seasons and top-10 finishes, the Rose Bowls, the five bowl games with a 3-2 record in those bowls, QB’s drafted #1 and #2 in the entire NFL draft (think about that – that really is amazing for little ‘ol WAZZU!). The guy sold Pullman and WSU with all his heart, and was able to dig deep and find absolute gems in recruiting (the list is too long to go into right now, but you know the drill – Trufant, Long, Gesser, Derting, etc, all guys not with the flashy star ratings, yet all guys rating as some of the best in school history). Price won with fantastic offenses as his calling card, but he showed he could win with a fantastic defense as well. Price won with crappy facilities, a tiny donor base, and no TV coverage to speak of.

And to this day, he gave me the greatest WSU moment of my life – the 1997 Apple Cup. I will never, ever, ever forget everything about that day. I know time clouds the memory, but even coming into that game at 9-1, there were a lot of people that doubted we could stroll into that stadium with the Rose Bowl on the line and pull it off. But we did. I’ll never forget before the game, the energy in that stadium, the Leaf flag paraded around, just the buzz before that game was unreal. I remember in warmups Jason Chorak taunting Leaf right around midfield, yelling and pointing at him like it was before a WWF match, and Leaf pointing right back in a “bring it!” fashion. Unbelievable.

And of course, the 1998 Rose Bowl. When that team ran out of the tunnel, and looking at the 50,000+ crimson pom-poms waving, that was a moment that is burned on the brain. We looked so friggin’ big-time that day it’s hard to even put into words. So for all that, Mike Price, we at WSU Football Blog THANK YOU for all that you gave to WSU. The divorce was messy and I don’t want to get into that now, but again, Thank You! Thank you for making WSU relevant on the Pac-10 football landscape.

Moving on – The scary thing is this year’s recruiting class. 3 commits (and they are all holding firm, by the way, a very good thing!), but the dead period is coming where a coach cannot contact a recruit. It begins next Saturday and runs through the holidays, all the way up until 1/13. I don’t want to get down on Doba, but that whole late offer thing is really hurting us right now. Of course it’s likely that if we did go out and get like 10 kids to commit earlier this fall that some of them would be bailing out due to the coaching change, but still. The new coach has some serious heavy lifting ahead.

So, with that out of the way, where do we go from here? Who’s left on the interview list? Wulff, Smith and Sumlin are all on the books. The TNT has a good pro-con story on Wulff, with the pro’s outweighing the cons on this one. One source also claims that Bobby Hauck is on the list and may have already interviewed for the job(?). Another thing we’ve heard is that there still is a viable “mystery” candidate who’s team is preparing for a bowl game, so the contact hasn’t yet been made official. Still no word on Bob Gregory, Chip Kelly, Tim Lappano or any of the other top Pac-10 assistants making it past the preliminary list, but it’s not over yet. One thing that has been confirmed is that these interviews are NOT taking place in Pullman, but rather in Salt Lake City (looks like the Times was right on that one). So I guess we can forget about that web site to track flights in and out of Pullman-Moscow airport?? Stay tuned!


7 Responses to “Price Bows Out”

  1. kaddy Says:

    Price will always be a Cougar, but this is the right decision. Still, I’d bet my house that if WSU put an offer sheet in front of him, he would have signed it.

    I want Wulff. Unlike many coaches, he doesn’t just want a HC job in D1, he wants THIS job. He loves Eastern WA, he can recruit the state, and he came from CA. He can sit in a kids’ living room and say, “This is why a kid from southern CA should go to WSU.”

    Just as importantly, he is innovative. He won’t stick to guns at all costs. If something isn’t working, he’ll change it. You have to be able to adapt to your personnel to be successful, and he’s done that.

  2. Sedihawk Says:

    Ditto Kaddy. I really wonder if Price was all that serious. Although we’ve heard strong rumblings that there were some noted alums that wanted to bring back Mike, still. You have to wonder from the story from El Paso dated on 12/7 that had details of Price wanting more $ at UTEP. Maybe this whole thing was to help him improve his lot at UTEP but in the end Sterk couldn’t ever fully sell Price’s return? It’s hard to say.

    GREAT point on Wulfy. This is his destination job, not a rung on the ladder. And you are right, he sure as hell has shown that he’s not afraid to change. That innovation is so damn important and it gets lost in the shuffle sometimes. I mean who would have ever thought a program like Oklahoma, a program that won a national title running the wishbone, would evolve into a read-option offense and big 12 champs? Oregon was looking like a BCS game contender until Dixon blew out the knee, and that was in a brand new read-option offense (and as much as I hate you Oregon, I respect how fantastic that offense was at times this year. Against UW, it was utterly unstoppable!). You evolve, or you fall behind, and Wulff at least appears to “get it”. But we shall see how it plays out. Things are still tight-lipped. Even Cougfan admitted today that the Spokesman is the place that sources are giving out bits and pieces, but otherwise it’s quiet.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I would be pretty interested on your source about Joyce pushing to get back to WSU. Wow! Great source.
    It’s amazing to me to see comments like the above the MP would have signed an offer sheet if presented despite the guy withdrawing his name from consideration. I mean how much do you have to hate on the guy to want to continue to make unfounded assumptions about the guy.
    MP did this for his family, so no offer sheet would have changed his mind. Can you imagine having his family be at games and have our own Coug fans hold up signs that say, “Hey Price where’s your destiny?”
    I guaranteed he was out 2 weeks ago, but that seems to miss with a lot of the readers on this site. Amazing how they wish to distort things in order to continue to take our personal vendattas for the way he left.

  4. kaddy Says:

    Hey Ptown – that was my guess, hence the phrase “I bet”. And no, I’m not hating on Price. I love the guy, and love what he did for WSU – I’ll always be grateful to him for that.

    Next time you go on the offensive, re-read the post first. You completely missed on this one.

  5. Sedihawk Says:

    Our source on his wife wanting to get back to the area is close to his family. We’ll leave it at that. But Ptown, you were right all along on Price being out. Was he out two weeks ago we’ll never know, but you guaranteed Price wouldn’t be the guy.

    And for the last time, please, I personally don’t hate Price. I hate how it broke down when he left, and some of the things he said and did on the way out the door is sad. But I’ll always love him for what he gave to our Cougs. Always.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I apologize I took it as a jab because it made it simply sound like Wazzu was a done deal for him and it never was. Its just that he makes a mention that he may be interested and everyone assumes that he wants.
    Again, I get calls from headhunters. I tell them I may be interested depending on what they are offering.
    No offense for not believing me about the guarantee because of your insider. There is nothing wrong with that in this day and age, but my pt of making my disclosure was with the hope that the continued MP debate (and bashing) not you Sedihawk, would be put to bed. I guess with the report by the Times it finally has.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Hey guys great blog. A friend of mine knows someone very close to the search and apparently they have narrowed it down to two candidates, and he will be young. I would have to assume that Wulff is one of the guys and maybe Gregory/Sumlin/Walker(?) is the other. This recent news about Price only further leads me to believe that the new coach will be announced sooner rather than later.

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