Mike Price: Leach + WSU = perfect marriage


FORMER WASHINGTON State football coach Mike Price said he was sorry to see one of his former players fired as coach of the Cougars, but Price said the hiring of Mike Leach as Paul Wulff's replacement is the "perfect marriage" of a coach and school.

"He's a real easy-going guy," Price said Thursday in a telephone interview from El Paso, Texas, where he coaches the UTEP Miners. "He's a Levi's-and-T-shirt guy.

"He's been around. He's done a lot. He will enjoy living in Pullman, and he will win, I guarantee it."

Price and the Miners witnessed Leach's explosive, pass-happy offenses up close and personal in high-scoring losses to Texas Tech in 2006 and '07.

"The setting is ripe for Cougar football, and Leach is ready," Price said. "His offensive philosophy; the players there will love playing for Leach."

Price, who coached Washington State from 1989-2002, said he still follows the Cougars closely.

"I'm a Paul Wulff fan, no question about it, and I'm a Cougar fan," Price said.

Price said he also has "a lot of respect" for Leach, the 2008 national coach of the year.

Price said WSU athletic director Bill Moos deserves credit for "getting the money and using it correctly" to hire a proven coach like Leach.

"I'm really happy for Washington State," Price said. "I was sad for Paul Wulff and his staff. I thought they had a great staff.

"I wish Paul had got one more year. They're so close (to winning). But if you're going to make a change, you couldn't hire a better guy."

Price, 65, said he plans to coach "at least one more year." There was some speculation he might not return, but the Miners announced Thursday that he will fulfill the final year on his contract. Price was not given an extension.

"Got 'em fooled for another year," Price joked.

Price is 45-52 in eight years at UTEP, with seven straight losing seasons since going 8-4 in his first year. A rebuilding Miners team finished 5-7 this year, losing out on a bowl on the final day of the season.

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