Sunday, May 4, 2003

Price fired as Alabama football coach



By GORDON PAULUS
Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal

The University of Alabama fired football coach Mike Price on Saturday for actions that included a trip to a topless bar in Pensacola.

University president Robert Witt said that Price failed to live his "personal and professional life in a manner consistent with university policies."

Price, who was hired in December from Washington State, never got to coach a game at Alabama.

He asked Witt for a second chance, but the president declined.

"To the university and the entire 'Bama Nation, I admit making mistakes and at times inappropriate behavior, but I also ask for your forgiveness," Price said.

Price, 57, came to Pensacola on April 16 to participate the next day in the celebrity pro-am at the Emerald Coast Classic Champions Tour golf event at The Moors Golf Club.

After a pro-am party that night, Price went to Arety's Angels, a Pensacola strip club, where he spent more than $100.

Reports also said later that night, he brought a woman to his room at the Crowne Plaza Grand Hotel, where she ordered $1,000 worth of room service.

Price played in the pro-am the next day.

On Saturday, he attended a public session with the university trustees in Tuscaloosa, Ala., with his two sons for his coaching staff, and his wife.

He then had a private meeting with Witt.

After Witt announced the firing, Price said: "I apologize to my wife, the team and my coaches. I will learn from this."

Witt called Price "a great coach, a good man," but the president added that Price failed to live up to responsibilities that come with the job of head coach at Alabama.

Witt said that Price was warned before that trip about his public behavior.

"Everybody makes mistakes," quarterback Brodie Croyle said. "You can rest assured it won't happen again."

Prices' sons spoke on his behalf.

"In his 57 years, there's been one moment in his life he didn't act appropriately," Aaron Price said.

Price had yet to sign a seven-year contract worth $10 million with Alabama. The deal had a clause saying he could be fired for any behavior "that brings (the) employee into public disrepute, contempt, scandal, or ridicule or that reflects unfavorably upon the reputation or the high moral or ethical standards of the University."

Witt said he regretted the "period of uncertainty" for Alabama players who now must wait to see who their new coach will be. The previous coach, Dennis Franchione, left abruptly after last season for Texas A&M.

The football team's probation stems from rules violations under Coach Mike DuBose, who was forced out in 2000 during a 3-8 season.




FLYING PIG MARATHON
Locals win Flying Pig
Complete results

REDS SUNDAY GAME
Giants 6, Reds 1
Reds Box, Runs

REDS SATURDAY GAME
Giants 9, Reds 6
Reds notebook: Riedling prepared to start
Harnisch putting in his innings
First win of season gives Graves shot of confidence
Aussie takes American game for a kick and a jog
Reds chatter
Reds Q&A

MORE BASEBALL
Fay: MLB power rankings
NL: Pujols, Cards hot
AL: Pedro twirls five-hitter
Notes from Saturday's games
Louisville 4, Buffalo 1
Cy Young vs. Cy Old
Mix up makes Choi the NL rookie of month
Ex-Astro Lugo says he didn't strike wife

KENTUCKY DERBY
Funny Cide up in Derby
Jockey Santos realizes dream with a gelding
Frankel accepts defeat in stride
A win for owners, and their home state
In a N.Y. minute - or two
No fade at finish for humbled Patton

BENGALS
Bengals begin to take shape
Newest receiver should fit right in
Bengals Q&A
Kitna comes out with early praise for Warrick

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Price fired as Alabama football coach
Tide president made the right call
Alabama players upset by coach's firing

PREP SPORTS
Daugherty: O.J. Mayo
Prep Insider
Prep results, schedule

BASKETBALL
Cronin's goal is to outfox ex-employers UC, U of L for recruits
Pictures worth 1,000 words for Missouri English major
Court: newspaper may be entitled to Knight records
Duncan to repeat as MVP

AUTO RACING
Ky. Speedway still hoping for Cup race
Driver Nadeau critical but improving

HOCKEY
Giguere pulled in loss to Stars
Clones lose finale

GOLF
Verplank maintains 3-shot lead

TENNIS
Venus advances

BOXING
De La Hoya stops Campas

SUNDAY SPORTS SPOTLITE
Ignorance is bliss for Thomas More
Some college coaches can't be trusted
'I made some very, very poor decisions'
Division II Lewis beats BYU for NCAA title
Top Of The Second power rankings

PLAN YOUR DAY
This weekend's sports on TV, radio