What They're Saying

FROM KEITH JACKSON to Calvin Armstrong, the words about Mike Price's departure range from shock to hurt to big-time concerns about his professional future:

Top 10 Reasons Mike Price Is Really Going to Alabama

10. Gets to wear Bear Bryant's hat AND frilly under garments
9. Student radio station's all-banjo, all-the-time format
8. Alumni association is like one big family -- literally
7. No shoes, no shirt, no problem!
6. Complimentary possum buffet after every home game
5. Moon pies go better with RC cola than Cougar Gold
4. Finally a chance to start his own jug band
3. Gatorade comes in "moonshine" and "mash whiskey" flavors there
2. Two words: Doublewide trailer.

You have mighty purty lips.

List compiled by the staff of CF.C

There isn't a college coach in the country who wouldn't want this job ..... Alabama football means more to me than you'll ever know.
-- Mike Price, Alabama head coach

There were no calls of turncoat or traitor, such is the high regard for departing Washington State football coach Mike Price. But in turning to Alabama, a once-storied program on serious probation and possibly facing more repercussions, some questioned his judgment.
-- Dan Raley, Seattle P-I

I think it's a mistake. Alabama is in a black hole. It bothers me a lot. I'm very fond of Mike. I just hope he doesn't get his heart broken. That's a tough place to coach.
-- Keith Jackson, ABC sportscaster and WSU alum

Poor, poor Mike Price. Not literally, obviously -- the man's about to become a multimillionaire. In all other areas, though, this just seems so wrong you can't help but feel icky. It's easy to understand why Alabama would be interested in Price... It's also easy to understand why Price, 56, would be interested in 'Bama, one of the absolute meccas in his profession... But it's absolutely baffling that both sides went through with it. Mike Price and Alabama are about as natural a fit as Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart. .... Price, whose sense of humor is easily tops among Division I-A head coaches, is headed to the one place where football is considered anything but funny. 'Bama seems terminally stuck in a cycle of chewing up and spitting out another coach every few years. To expect that pattern to suddenly end as the program is about to hit rock bottom is unrealistic. It's just unfortunate that the next victim has to be someone like Price. In the end, his wealth of dignity could only be trumped by his own natural ambition.
-- Stewart Mandel, CNNSI.com

I'm pretty hurt and crushed right now.
-- Calvin Armstrong, WSU All-Pac-10 tackle

Tonight, we learned that college football is a business.
-- Isaac Brown, WSU junior defensive end

Where the hell was Jim Sterk in all this? Did he try to talk Price into staying? Did he offer to up his salary and his budget? I think this guy has some questions to answer. People don't quit organizations, they quit bosses. Jim Sterk was Mike Price's boss.
-- Rich Howard, WSU Class of 1979 and season ticket holder

Before Cougars fans go nuclear over the departure of coach Mike Price to Alabama, please check your hypocrisy at the door. You are not allowed to complain if during the 1998-2000 seasons you said Price, in the midst of a 10-24 run, needed to be fired.
-- Art Thiel, Seattle P-I

Rarely has one coach been so perfectly married to a place and a program as Price has been to Washington State ... He was small town, but not small time. He did things his wanderlusting predecessors couldn't do .... and even though he is someone who has been unapologetically happy at Washington State for the past 14 years, he also is a fierce competitor with an ego that drives him and a curiosity that occasionally nags at him. He is 56 and has been listening attentively to the ticking of his biological clock. He knew if he wanted to try something really big — big money and big exposure — time was wasting. So, when Alabama asked if he were interested in coaching its football team, Price said yes. He surrendered to his competitive instincts and yesterday took the last great coaching offer of his career.
-- Steve Kelley, Seattle Times

There's an urban legend in Alabama that a man shot his wife when she switched the television from the Auburn-Alabama game. A judge subsequently ruled it justifiable homicide. At least, that's the story. Price has no idea what he faces. He surely thinks he does, but he doesn't. I know because I covered Auburn for two years and watched Terry Bowden wrecked by the pressure. Alabama adherents combine the self-righteousness of Notre Dame fans with the zealotry of evangelical preachers. No fans are more unforgiving.
-- Ted Miller, Seattle P-I

Given that nobody foresaw Price being a legitimate fit at Alabama just a few days ago, we're about to find out if the head Cougar is committing career suicide with the biggest gamble of his life. This isn't one of those ill-advised fake field goals or questionable play calls that got largely overlooked in Pullman because of Price's down-home charm and long loyalty .... Alabama isn't sweet home any longer for top candidates. Price can call Alabama the premier program in the nation from now 'til New Year's Day. But there is a reason Dennis Franchione tucked tail and fled to Texas A&M after just a pair of seasons in Tuscaloosa.
-- Greg Johns, Eastside Journal (Bellevue)

I give Price four seasons max at 'Bama. After he's tarred, feathered, and run out of town, he'll open up his bait shop with Bob Toledo in Mexico.
-- Former WSU athlete who asked not to be identified

Mike Price is going to wish he'd never met Bob Stoops. Oklahoma is going to hand him his head on New Year's Day and then the Sooners set their sights on the Crimson Tide on September 6. The only thing rolling will be Price's head. Bob Stoops is going to turn his life into a living hell.
-- E-mailer to CF.C named Big 12 Bob

My Cougar flag is not at half-mast, it's at no-mast. It's not even fluttering. It's completely limp, and I'm completely shocked ....I never thought that Washington State coach Mike Price would jilt us for a Southern girl. I thought he was just waving his arms in the back of the room, tired of not getting any attention, shouting: 'What about me?!?!' when the jobs opened at Alabama and UCLA. I should have taken him seriously.I thought he would get a token look, maybe even a first interview, and return to Pullman, saying, 'Once a Cougar, always a Cougar.'
-- Jim Moore, Seattle P-I

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