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Price leaving WSU for Alabama

Dec. 18, 2002 at 12:25 AM   |   Comments

PULLMAN, Wash., Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Mike Price, the football coach at Washington State the last 14 years, is taking a similar job at Alabama.

Reports of Price going to Tuscaloosa were widespread over the media late Tuesday. Neither school would confirm the reports.

The Seattle Times reported that Price broke the news to his players and staff Tuesday night, and the Tuscaloosa News said its sources indicated Price had indeed been hired by Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore.

The News also said the search for a successor to Dennis Franchione, who went to Texas A&M, included Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer, New Orleans Saints assistant coach Mike Riley, and Jim Leavitt, the head coach at South Florida.

"He told us he was going to Alabama," offensive lineman Calvin Armstrong told the Seattle Times when asked about Price. "He said he was sorry, and it was a real tough decision, but, financially, it was the right decision for his family."

"You will have to talk to Alabama about that," said Rod Commons, the Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations at Washington State. "We will address our situation tomorrow."

Price also has said he will coach the Cougars in their Rose Bowl contest against Oklahoma.

A source told the Times that defensive coordinator Bill Doba, 62, will be named as the permanent coach, possibly as soon as Wednesday, with defensive line coach Robb Akey moving up to defensive coordinator and Mike Levenseller staying on as offensive coordinator.

Price, a native of Everett, Wash., was 83-77 in his 14 years as head coach. This season, he guided the seventh-ranked Cougars to a 10-2 overall record and a share of the Pac-10 Conference championship.

He had the second-longest tenure and the second-most wins as head coach in school history, trailing only Babe Hollingberry (1926-42) in both categories.

His tenure also included the playing days of three of the school's greatest quarterbacks -- Drew Bledsoe, Ryan Leaf, and Jason Gesser.

Price coached Boise State from 1981-88, where he had a record of 46-44.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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