A return home helped Gilbert Price land his first head coaching job.
Victoria Advocate File Photo
The former Shiner Comanches standout will be St. Paul's new head football coach for the 2004 season as well as the head basketball coach. He replaces Jimmy Cox, who led the Cardinals to a 15-9 record over two seasons but resigned at the end of the school year.
Price, who quarterbacked the Comanches to the Class 2A state championship in 1986, got the job two weeks ago and has been busy getting ready for the start of two-a-day workouts on Monday morning.
"I'm just trying to ease my way in and enjoy," Price said on Wednesday afternoon. "Just to get back to coaching is fun."
Dana Beal, who became the new athletic director in June, said, "We're very excited to have Gilbert. He brings a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of experience. I feel we'll have a successful year in football and basketball."
Beal was the girls athletic director and head volleyball coach last year. She will also coach girls basketball.
"I'm excited to be the AD," she said. "I'm excited to be at St. Paul in whatever capacity they need me. I'm happy to do that."
Shiner will also have to find new softball and baseball coaches. Matt Karnes, who led the Lady Cardinals to the 2004 TAPPS Class 1A-2A state softball championship, resigned at the end of the year to become the head softball coach at Class 5A Bastrop.
Price has been out of coaching since he resigned his assistant coaching position at Sweeny in 2002. Prior to that, he had been an assistant at Industrial (1993-1995), Refugio (1995-1997), Corpus Christi Carroll (1997-1999) and Smithville (2000) before moving over to Sweeny in 2000. He also played football and graduated from Southwest Texas State University.
Price will also be the head basketball coach and in the spring he will coach either baseball or softball. He said, "We haven't talked about the spring yet but I hope it's softball so I can win a state championship. We have all those girls back (from the 2004 TAPPS Class 1A-2A state championship team)."
Since this is first head coaching job, one might expect Price to be a little overwhelmed, but he is taking things in stride.
"I'm not intimidated," he said. "I've worked with good people and that helps. I worked with Mike Treybig (at Industrial and Sweeny), Terry Morris (at Carroll) and George Harris (at Refugio). Am I ready? I think I am. Everyone will have an opinion, but I'm not going to look back.
"I'll work with the other two coaches and get them ready," Price added. "I think we can be successful. It's the process of implementing things. This is a good group of kids. I've seen them work and told them we're going to go slow."
Price introduced himself to the team when he got the job. He called a meeting and 25 players showed up to meet him.
"I've seen and talked to at least half of them," he said. "They've been in the weight room in the mornings or evenings. And I called and talked to them today just to remind them about Monday."
Price is expecting 30 players to show up on Monday as he and defensive coordinator Dwight McAllister and assistant Brian Zimmerman put in the new off-set I and split-6 defense.
"We'll try to implement things slowly," he said. "We'll have about 14 practices. The defense is basic. As far as offense, we'll have to get that in quickly because it's going to be different from last year.
"I'm really looking forward to it," he added. "I'm looking not to do what I want to but to see how I do. I'm going to call the offense and coach McAllister will call the defense. That'll take a little pressure off me."
Asked if he is feeling like the head coach, Price replied, "I feel it now. Just that first day of standing in front of the players and talking, I felt it. All the preparing and going over offense and defense to make sure they (his assistants) know what I want. I'm sure it'll be the same for the first practice and then the first game. I have to deal with it and I think I'll be fine."
"It's been a lot of hard work and I've enjoyed all of it," he added. "And I'm going to keep on enjoying it."
Price feels he is prepared for all the other things that come with the job.
"I've been with other guys and seen the things that they went through," he said. "I know I'll have to go through it and I'll just deal with it as it comes. I know that how the team plays and the results of the games is going to come back on me. I just have to make sure they are prepared and ready to go and get after it.
"And a lot of that will also be on the kids and I told them that," he added.
Bill Hatch is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6509, or by e-mail at email@example.com.