Price assembling staff

With new Tide Head Coach Mike Price using this week to interview and hire candidates for the remaining assistant coaching positions, four members of his staff area already on the job in Tuscaloosa, calling recruits and getting organized for winter semester.

Chris Ball

Assignment: Defensive backs

Ball, a 16-year coaching veteran, is a 1986 graduate of Missouri Western State. He has coached at his alma mater twice, Northeast Missouri State (1986-87), Akron (1987-88), Coffeyville Junior College (1990-94) and Western Oregon State (1995-96). He spent two years at Idaho State where he served as defensive coordinator and linebacker coach. His Washington State secondary recorded a school record 26 interceptions in 2001 and had 17 this past season.

Ball will handle all secondary duties, including both cornerbacks and safeties.

Bobby Connelly

Assignment: Offensive line

Connelly is a 1994 graduate of Texas A&M University-Commerce and a native of Dallas, Texas. After a stint as graduate assistant at Texas A&M-Commerce (1994-95), he coached offensive line and tight ends at Cisco Junior College (1996-97) and then spent a year at Texas A&M (1998) where he coached the offensive line and special teams. In 1999, he coached offensive line and tight ends for California State-Northridge and then spent a season at San Jose State (2000) coaching the offensive line before moving to Washington State for the 2001 and 2002 seasons.

Kasey Dunn

Assignment: Running Backs and Special Teams

Dunn, a 1992 graduate of the University of Idaho, spent the 1992-93 seasons with the Houston Oilers, British Columbia Lions and Edmonton Eskimos, before moving into the college ranks at Idaho from 1993-94. He then coached at the University of San Diego (1994), New Mexico (1996-97) and TCU (1998), before joining the Washington State staff in March, 1998.

Dunn will handle the additional responsibilities of Assistant Head Coach at Alabama.

Aaron Price

Assignment: Quarterbacks and Kickers

Price, a 1994 graduate of Washington State, coached at Cal Poly, SLO (1994), Washington State (1995-97), Missouri Western State (1998) and Idaho State (1999-2000) before returning to Washington State for the 2001 and 2002 seasons. He tutored the quarterbacks for the Cougars and was instrumental in the development of WSU greats Ryan Leaf and Jason Gesser.

While Aaron Price works with the Tide punters and placekickers, his father (Head Coach Mike Price) will work with the quarterbacks.

There has been no official announcement yet, but Price's older son, Eric, will almost certainly be joining the staff as offensive coordinator and receivers coach. Eric Price is currently serving as an offensive assistant for the New York Jets in the National Football League. The Jets are of course involved in the playoffs (and playing very well), so Eric Price is not expected to join the Tide staff until New York is either eliminated or following the Super Bowl.

With (Eric) Price, (Aaron) Price, Connelly and Dunn, the offensive staff is complete except for tight ends. It's probable that the Recruiting Coordinator will also handle tight ends. NCAA rules require that the official Recruiting Coordinator also be an on-the-field coach, but Randy Ross (currently the Director of High School Relations but in line for a promotion) will provide substantial assistance.

Head Coach Mike Price has concentrated on the position since arriving in Tuscaloosa, and he could name his Defensive Coordinator at any time. Though it's absolutely possible that another candidate could be hired, at this point the leading candidates appear to be Eric Schumann of Tulane and Will Muschamp of LSU, both of whom are currently Defensive Coordinators at their respective schools. Schumann is a former Tide player during the ‘70s, while Muschamp is one of the top young coordinators in the country. Reportedly, former Alabama Defensive Coordinator Bill "Brother" Oliver recommended Muschamp for the job. Bill Clay of Oklahoma State has also been interviewed.

Andre Patterson, who recently lost his job as Defensive Line coach for the Dallas Cowboys, is a strong candidate for the same job at Alabama and is also a possibility for Defensive Coordinator. Patterson served on Mike Price's staff at Washington State before joining the Cowboys.

It's believed that three defensive position coaches remain to be hired: linebackers, defensive tackles and defensive ends. The Defensive Coordinator will almost certainly handle one of those jobs as well, so his hire will precede the others.

Price has said he intends to hire an Alabama high school coach as well as a former Tide player. However, that would not necessarily mean two different people. Also, it's possible/probable that the high school coach would join the staff as the Director of High School Relations and not necessarily be an on-the-field position coach.

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