Selected as the 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year after finishing second in conference standings, Mike 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.