As the homecoming game between UTEP and Western Kentucky draws near, interim head coach Mike Price has been getting his feet wet with the team and is starting to feel more comfortable around the new players.
Although it’s challenging for any coach to prosper as an interim head coach from the outside, Price brings previous head coaching experience to the table.
Here are three things he can bring to the Miners for the remainder of the season.
Mike Price—just the name—rings a bell to most El Pasoans. Although he had a losing record throughout his 2004-12 stint with the Miners (48-61), Price always found a way to make games exciting with the Miners. He was pretty lovable and got a lot of attention with the fans.
Let’s face it, getting Price this time around may have been a plan to rack in more ticket sales—a smart move by the football boosters upstairs.
“We’re 0-0,” he said during his inaugural press conference back.
Doesn’t that just sound appealing to fans? Short answer is yes.
Regardless if ticket holders refuse to go to any games because of how bad the team is, this week it’s almost certain the Sun Bowl will bring in a good crowd due to all the surrounding happenings for the homecoming game.
And even after homecoming, Price is sure to dazzle the fans and make it so their ticket is worth their money.
But how will he do that?
He knows how to win
One week into practice and Price has already been plotting and developing new schemes for this team. Sure, he hasn’t coached for five seasons, but Price knows how to win a football game and how to upset a team—something that will need to be done if the Miners stand a chance against Western Kentucky Saturday.
The Miners might not see immediate improvement but it might be a good time to look ahead.
If Price can last a respectable game against the Hilltoppers, who are also the defending Conference USA champions, the team could go into the next two weeks—a game at Southern Miss and a bye week—with a list of things that need to be cleaned up or touched on. This would allow Price to bring in some advice from an outside perspective.
Think about this: Price flipped a 2-11 team that was handed to him in 2004 to an 8-4 team that went to a bowl game. He has already assessed that productivity on the field is the reason they haven’t won games and says he will continue to try and fix that.
360 games under his belt
Price has been a coach for nearly 50 years—let that sinks in. Even during his retirement in Idaho, he watches his grandkids play football almost every day. And, he’s followed each Miner game since he’s left the program, according to him.
So he knows the program and knows how the college football game operates. Price brings philosophy after coaching in 360 college football games, finishing his official head coaching career with a 177-183 overall record.
Say what you want about the 71-year-old, but he brings much-needed expertise to this team.
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