Nov. 26, 2001
PULLMAN, Wash. --- For the second time in five seasons, the Pacific-10 Conference has named Washington State's Mike Price Coach of the Year.
Price, in his 13th season at Washington State, guided a remarkable turnaround in 2001. The Cougars, coming off a 4-7 season in 2000 with two Pac-10 wins, were picked to finish last in the Pac-10 in the pre-season media poll. Instead, WSU rolled to a 9-2 record, a Top 15 ranking in the poll, and a 6-2 conference record and a possible Pac-10 Co-Championship.
"Anytime you are recognized by your peers, it is a great honor," Price said. "That makes it special. I take it as a staff award and also as a team award. I certainly would not have got the award if the team had not played well.
"I think our coaching staff did as good a job as any we have had in the last 13 years, and having 14 kids on the Pac-10 All-Academic is a great credit to out program."
The Cougars used an explosive offense and an opportunistic defense, both trademarks of Price-led teams, to dominate the first seven opponents of the season by an average of just over 19 points per game.
Washington State's nine wins gives Price 72 victories during his tenure on the Palouse, and 118 for his career.
The "dean" of the Pac-10 coaching fraternity was also named the conference's Coach of the Year in 1997, after guiding the Cougars to a 10-2 record and the Rose Bowl, and in 1989 by The Sporting News.
Washington State has already accepted a contingency bid to the Sun Bowl, which would be the Cougars' fourth bowl under Price, the most of any coach in school history.