ROSE BOWL Washington State's Price focuses on Sooners
The 20-year coach will take over at Alabama next year.
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- Mike Price's second trip to the Rose Bowl will be his last as Washington State's coach, something he's trying not to think about.
Price, whose seventh-ranked Cougars play No. 8 Oklahoma today, is leaving after 14 years as head coach to take over at Alabama, where he was hired Dec. 17.
"I want to concentrate on this game, the strategy of this game, and be calm, cool and collected," Price said. "After the game, I'll be a blubbering idiot, probably."
Price has spent 20 years at Washington State. He became head coach in 1989 and has led WSU to its only three 10-win seasons. His dedication to the program is one reason his players are glad he was allowed to stick around for the bowl game.
"We've been playing all year long with this guy. We want him to be here for this game as well," quarterback Jason Gesser said. "Everything's the same -- he's here, we want him to be here, we want him to coach, we want to play for him."
Receiver Colin Henderson said the Cougars "need every single resource possible" for this game.
"I can't imagine a better resource, a better coach, a better piece of the puzzle than coach Price," he said.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said he doesn't expect the Cougars to get an emotional lift from this being Price's last game.
"They'd probably get more excited if he was retiring," Stoops said Tuesday. "'Win one for the coach who's going to Alabama' probably doesn't mean as much."
The Cougars (10-2), Pac 10 co-champions, face an Oklahoma team making its first Rose Bowl appearance. The Big 12 champion Sooners (11-2) received the invitation after the Orange Bowl selected Iowa and Southern California for its game.
The Orange Bowl's choice of Iowa left the Rose Bowl without its traditional Pac 10-Big Ten matchup. Before last season, when the Rose Bowl was host of the BCS national championship game, champions of the Pac 10 and Big Ten had met in this game every year since 1947.
"I do believe there are those that are concerned that someone else was able to put together a Pac 10-Big Ten matchup and we weren't able to do that, but that's not the Tournament of Roses' position," said Mitch Dorger, the group's CEO.