Mike Price, the 1997 National Coach of the Year and 2001 Hyundai Sun Bowl game participant, has been selected as the 2014 Legend of the Sun Bowl.
“Mike Price is a true legend in the coaching fraternity and it is only fitting that he be inducted as a Legend of the Sun Bowl,” said Barry Kobren, Sun Bowl Association President. “Upon retirement, only five active coaches had more wins than Coach Price. Before he became an institution coaching the Miners, he left his mark on the Sun Bowl leading his Washington State Cougars to victory in the 68th edition of our game. We are truly honored to add Mike Price’s name to the Legends of the Sun Bowl.”
Price will be inducted at the 2014 Rotary Sun Bowl Team Luncheon on Dec. 26 at the Judson F. Williams Convention Center.
“I’m really surprised and humbled by this wonderful honor,” said Price. “The Sun Bowl is one of the reasons why El Paso is such a special place and I love it so much.
“The Sun Bowl game was a great start for the 2002 Washington State campaign. Ending the 2001 season on a high note carried over to the next year when we had a Heisman Trophy candidate in our quarterback, we climbed the national rankings and culminated the year at the Rose Bowl. It was a feel-good thing for myself and our team back then. It is a humbling award for me now.”
Selected as the 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year after finishing second in conference standings, Price led the Washington State Cougars to a 33-27 win over Purdue at the Sun Bowl game. After giving up a touchdown and allowing an onside kick that pulled the Boilermakers within six points, the Washington State defense forced Purdue to turn the ball over on downs with 1:17 left to play in the game. The win catapulted the Cougars to a No. 10 ranking in the AP and Coaches’ polls finishing 10-2 for the season. Price and his Cougars finished the 2002 season with a bid to the Rose Bowl as Pac-10 Co-Champions and a 10-3 record.
Price’s 2001 appearance at Sun Bowl Stadium was not his last as the 1997 National Coach of the Year returned to El Paso to take over the UTEP program in 2004. In his first year, Price engineered the country’s best turnaround bringing the Miners to unprecedented national prominence.
The Everett, Wash., native began his head coaching career at Weber State in 1981 where he compiled a 46-44 record. He was hired at Washington State in 1989 where he remained until 2002 assembling an 83-79 record after 14 years. While at Washington State and UTEP, 25 of his student-athletes earned All-American honors while 47 received first-team all-conference recognition. After nine seasons in El Paso, and 31 overall as head coach, Price retired in 2012.
“The spirit of the Legend of the Sun Bowl award encompasses an individual who has dedicated his life to advancement of college football,” said Bernie Olivas, Executive Director of the Sun Bowl Association. “Coach Price is highly respected in the college football ranks. More than his participation at the Sun Bowl game, Coach Price is a staple in the El Paso community. We couldn’t be any more proud to honor his career as one of our Legends.”
Price is the 30th member of the elite fraternity of the Legends of the Sun Bowl that includes Cornelius Bennett, Tom Brookshier, Terry Donahue, Vince Dooley, Tony Dorsett, John H. Folmer, Tony Franklin, Hayden Fry, Ken Heineman, Priest Holmes, Don James, Major Harris, Charley Johnson, Harrison Kohl, Verne Lundquist, Johnny Majors, Jimmy Rogers, Jr., Gerald J. Rubin, Craig Silver, Bill Stevens, Pat Summerall, Barry Switzer, Grant Teaff, Derrick Thomas, Thurman Thomas, Pat Tillman, Alex Van Pelt, Jesse Whittenton, and most recently Blake Brockermeyer.
The Rotary Club of El Paso uses net proceeds to support its annual Children’s Christmas Party (held annually since 1922), which treats some 4,500 Head Start children to a holiday fiesta at the El Paso County Coliseum. Other youth programs include Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and Youth Appreciation Day scholarships.
The 81st Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 27 at noon (MST). CBS Sports will broadcast the game for the 47th consecutive year. Ticket prices for the game are $22, $32, $47, $57 and $62. Tickets can be purchased at the Sun Bowl Association office (915-533-4416, 800-915-BOWL), online at www.ticketmaster.com or at any TicketMaster outlet.