The “Price” We Will Pay
ESPN indicates that UTEP and El Paso have dodged a bullet and kept Mike Price as the coach of the football team. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2692505
Before we forget this little episode, we should reflect on just what has transpired and how this changes everything from now on.
The fact that Arizona State even had an interest in the one time blacklisted coach should sound alarms for all UTEP fans. We hired the guy after getting fired from Alabama on what turned out to be a bogus story about a night of drinking and a strip club. UTEP went out on a limb and it paid off. The whole college football world watched in awe as the embattled coach earned back the respect he deserved all along.
Now he’s back on the market and don’t think for a minute that his name won’t be on the top of every list when needy universities talk about possible new coaches. ASU’s interest signaled the end of Price’s blacklisting. These “scares” will now be a common occurrence here in El Paso. Like a father with a beautiful daughter, we will weather many sleepless nights wondering who will one day claim our precious gem until one day we will get our answer.
Yes, the ASU jobs and others will pay more than we will. One day the money will take him from us and there’s little we can do about that. We haven’t been exactly the best hosts this season and that is working against us.
Mike Price has every reason to stay at UTEP and win some bowl games. Bringing UTEP to a constant top 25 ranking would be a nose thumbing of epic proportions to those who wouldn’t give him a chance after being fired from the Alabama job. All we had to do was keep an open mind and a positive attitude. We did not.
After two great seasons we had a mediocre one and El Paso turned on the Miners. We booed the team and we booed the coach. When we were asked not to boo we did the only thing we know how to do – fight. El Paso is often just like that young man who fights just to remind himself that he has fists. We decided that instead of thinking about what the coach was asking, we’d focus more on the fact that someone was telling us what to do. Even the famous “voice of the Miners,” exclaimed on his radio show “I will boo when I want to boo, especially when they are stinking up the field.” Would you be endeared to a community if that is what their message was? I wouldn’t blame the coach if he thinks we’re a bunch of ungrateful assholes.
I think El Pasoans lost track of the fact that these kids are students first and football players second. They are not paid to play this game and it’s a perk to attending college. Booing the Miners and then claiming their right to do so, even though the coach pleaded with them not to, is why the coach even talked with ASU. Frankly said – Mike Price doesn’t have to put up with this shit for the pay he’s getting and he’ll gladly go to a town where they appreciate him and his athletes.
Now we are sure to lose our coach in the next year or so. We will be back to where we were in the past… okay coaches at best, bad recruiting and praying to play .500 ball. We had a once in a lifetime opportunity to get an A+ coach for D- pay and we’ve blown it by being selfish.
When Price leaves so will the wave of popularity in community that has emboldened UTEP enrolment rates. Here are the facts and figures http://www.utep.edu/aboututep/campusfacts.aspx. The numbers had been going up before Price got here, but you can’t beat a winning football team for advertising. The football turnaround has put more kids in UTEP attire than I’ve seen in my 16 years here. That’s all gone as soon as our gift is gone. Pat yourself on the back those of you who told the coach you’d rather boo his team than support them – he’s on the market and he’s not happy with El Paso.