Price replaces Rocker

Several excellent defensive line coaches scrambled to get the DL coaching position vacated by Tracy Rocker early this week, but when the smoke cleared, former Rebel DE Coach Terry Price, who has been at Auburn during Tommy Tuberville's tenure there, was the last man standing in Houston Nutt's search.

Tracy Rocker left the Ole Miss football program - officially - Sunday night.

When Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt showed up at the national college coaches convention in Nashville Monday, coaches clamoring to take Rock's place were beating down his door.

"We had several really great candidates," said Nutt. "It was a hard decision, but in the end Coach (Tyrone) Nix and I felt Terry Price was the best choice for us at this time.

"Really, I don't think there was a wrong choice. All of the three or four I narrowed it down to are winners, but Terry kept popping up in my mind."

Price comes back to Ole Miss after a 10-year stint as the DE coach for Tommy Tuberville at Auburn. He was the defensive ends coach for Tuberville at Ole Miss before that.

Terry had recently accepted a job at Iowa State, but when Nutt came calling, Price was open to the opportunity to come back to the South. His wife is from the Oxford area.

"When Momma is happy, everyone is happy," said Price via telephone conversation late Friday night. "While I am elated to be going back to Ole Miss and to have the opportunity to work with Coach Houston Nutt and Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix, I can't stress how much I appreciate the opportunity Coach Paul Rhoads gave me at Iowa State.

"Coach Rhoads, who I was fortunate enough to work with at Auburn, is an outstanding person and coach and it was an honor to work with him and for him. He will do a tremendous job at Iowa State. The opportunity to work at Ole Miss, though, was just better for me and my family and I appreciate him giving me the opportunity to explore that option."

Price asked his new boss, Nutt, for permission to help Rhoads on the recruiting visits this weekend since it had already been planned and was underway when Terry was hired at Ole Miss.

"We were neck deep in the weekend and Coach Nutt and I agreed it was the right thing to do for Coach Rhoads, who wanted me to help if I could," Price continued. "I will be in Oxford Monday night or Tuesday morning and will be ready to go to work."

Price has fond memories of Oxford and Ole Miss from his tenure here with Tommy Tuberville from 1995-1998.

"I don't think many of Coach Tuberville's staff really wanted to leave Ole Miss when we did," said Price, "but when Tommy decided to take the Auburn job and he wanted us to go with him, you don't have much choice. Our wagon was tied to him and we had no guarantees the new coach at Ole Miss would keep us on. You have to feed your family. That's not to say my 10 years at Auburn was not a great experience, they were a great experience, but I don't know if I would have ever left if I had had the option to stay.

"The years I spent in Oxford were some of the best I have had in my life and career. I met my wife there, who is a from Oxford and a graduate of Ole Miss. To go back there, where her family is and where I have great memories, is special to us. It's the only job I know of I would have left Coach Rhoads for this quickly."

For the past 14 years, Price has been working with defensive ends exclusively, but he does not think it's an issue for him to take on the whole front four of the defense.

"I had all four early in my career at Western Kentucky and it's not much different than coaching the ends. You have to be in tune with the whole defense regardless of what position or positions you coach. In fact, I like the philosophy of the DL coach having all four positions," he stated. "I like the concept of all the D-Linemen being in the same meeting room every day."

Price is ready to get to Oxford, roll up his sleeves and get going.

"One advantage I have is that I know the lay of the land. I have recruited Mississippi and the same areas Ole Miss hits for a long time. I have a lot of contacts in that state and region," he noted. "Ole Miss was a perfect fit for me when i was there the first time and it's a perfect fit for me now.

"I'm excited about working with Coach Nix and his staff and I am excited to work for Coach Nutt, one of the best coaches in the country. The Ole Miss defense this past year shut Auburn down pretty good. I was very impressed with everything. We will push to see how far all of us can take the Rebel program."

Through his years at Auburn, Price had come back to Oxford and Ole Miss often, as a competitor and as a member of his wife's family.

He has been amazed at the growth and progress of Oxford and Ole Miss, in particular the football facilities.

"That Indoor Practice Facility is something. The stadium upgrades, the attendance, the enthusiasm for the program, the coaching staff - it's all in place," Price closed. "We have as many tools as anyone to win and that's all a coach can ask for."

Welcome back, TP.

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