EL PASO – As the football season ended, UTEP Miners head coach Mike Price made one last appearance at the Don Haskins Center. He was the main event in the halftime show for the Men’s Basketball Battle of I-10. The crowd was roaring as he gave his final “spell out” cheer for the Miners.
Athletics director Bob Stull gave him an emotional timeline titled ‘’The Mike Price Era.’’ Price’s era began on December 21, 2003. He resurrected the program, bringing two 8-4 seasons in his first two years.
The Miners obtained an AP poll ranking – the first ever in school history – in his first year and won a chance to play in the Houston Bowl. The Miners lost to Colorado, but Price had brought pride back to UTEP football.
“As an adult, football isn’t a hobby; it’s my profession. It’s what I am supposed to do and it is my calling,” Price said.
Price is only the second coach to lead UTEP to three bowl bids. Home attendance more than doubled from 20,009 in 2003 to 41,209 in 2004.
The Miners suffered three consecutive two-win seasons. “Some of the losses should have been wins, but hey you win some you lose some. He took me in as his own, I thank him for that and I hope he has success with whatever he does,” said Germard Reed, UTEP Defensive Lineman.
Mike Price coached at UTEP for nine years and he ended with a record of 48-61. He has earned the most wins in UTEP football history, surpassing Mike Brumbelow (46) this season.
“Spiraling down in his career; it was coming to an end. He had already hit his peak a couple years back. I think it was a good way for him to go out,” said Eber Ruvalcaba, a UTEP student/employee.
The student body appears to be glad that Price’s time has come to an end. With only eight wins in Conference USA games, it seems to be no surprise.
“I wanted to be a football coach, even as a little kid. I always tell people I didn’t learn my ABC’s when I was little; I learned my X’s and O’s. Here I am and I never did anything else,” Price said.
Price’s record reveals more losses than wins, but as he walks away from the game it’s clear that he never lost with his players, teaching them to excel on the college gridiron and later, to excel in life.