The road to becoming a coach varies for coaches across the state. Early head coach Daniel Price was impacted by former head coach Tom Ritchey and his staff in football crazy Sweetwater.
“They really showed me what it was like. They were my father figures away from my own father. They instilled a work ethic in me. To this day, I would run through a wall for coach Ritchey, if he asked me to. Having that bond and building that bond with them, and knowing that relationship and the impact it had on me growing up is really what got me toward this direction.”
But it wasn’t just the coaches and his time on the field that led him to the career of coaching. One of Price’s teachers played a role in his decision.
Price added, “I also had an 8th-grade teacher. Her name was Mrs. Gray. She put inside of me that desire to teach. Between them and the coaches that I had growing up, that really pulled me into education.”
The Early job is his first as a head coach, and it’s gone really well. Early was struggling to win games. Prior to Price’s arrival, the Longhorns were in the midst of a eleven-year playoff drought, and they were looking for their first winning season since 2007. Since he arrived, Price has led the ‘Horns to the postseason twice with a winning record in 2021.
Price added, “It’s been an amazing rollercoaster of a ride knowing where we were at when I took over, knowing the program that we wanted to have and the things that we wanted to change. I’m just the guy that gets to be the face of it. They do all the work, and when you hire a great staff, it makes it easier on me. Being able to execute those things and do it with your sons on the sidelines, it’s been fun.”
Did we mention his sons? Jaxon Price won the starting quarterback job in Price’s first season as the head coach, and now, his son, Rowen, is playing center.
Price added, “Getting to share that with your sons is special. I get caught in being dad sometimes on Friday night. He throws a great ball, and I say, ‘Wow, that’s my son out there.’ This year has been a lot of fun because his brother is snapping to him and is on the field with him, and that’s something they haven’t shared a whole lot because of the age difference.”
Sometimes coaches have a hard time switching from coach to dad when they coach their sons. Jaxson says his dad makes the switch, but he likes both his dad, the coach, and his dad, the dad.
Jaxson Price said, “I am very thankful that we can separate the two, the two different people. At home, we do talk about football and most of it is football, but there are times where he is just dad, and I’m thankful for that.”
Coaches have to win when they take a job, but Price says it’s just as important that he is a good example for his players and students just like the coaches that shaped his life.
Price said, “It’s been a fun ride to see the impact that I have on young people. Hopefully, throughout my career, I’ve been able to impact them positively and gave them some life lessons that they can take with them as they go.”
Early head coach Daniel Price is the Abilene Teachers Federal Credit Union Coach of the Week.