They Won’t Have Coach They Expected

While the University of Miami, Washington State, Weber State and the Dallas Cowboys were playing musical chairs with football coaches, a few local high school athletes found they will have a different coach than they expected to have when they signed letters of intent last month.

The chain of events:

After Jimmy Johnson replaced Tom Landry in Dallas, Washington State Coach Dennis Erickson took the Miami job, Weber State Coach Mike Price went to Washington State and his assistant, Dave Arslanian, took over at Weber State. Got that?

So about a week ago, Gene Ethridge, a Mt. Miguel High School running back who was one of four San Diego County athletes to sign letters of intent with Weber State, received a call and was told by Arslanian that he had a new coach. Same as he told the other San Diego players committed to Weber State: Larry Anderson (Chula Vista), Mark Hood (Kearny) and Ray Thompson (Crawford).


Ethridge didn’t mind a bit. Arslanian assured him Weber State would be running a similar offense, which suits his running style and ability to catch passes coming out of the backfield. Besides, Ethridge said he liked the whole package, not just the football program.

“Basically,” he said, “I feel pretty strong about the school.”

Miami has problems. Sports Illustrated reported last week that Darren Krein, an Aurora, Colo., linebacker who signed a letter of intent with the Hurricanes, has hired a lawyer to try to get out of his commitment. And several other players have threatened to transfer.

That’s not the way it should be, said Mt. Miguel Coach Gary Cooper.


“If you sign a national letter of intent there’s no clause in there that says so and so is going to be coaching there,” Cooper said. “That’s just part of the game.”

Give Jerome Price this--he’s not afraid of a challenge.

A month ago, after he was disqualified from finishing his high school basketball season with University City for participating in the Gus Macker tournament, he slugged it out with San Diego Section Commissioner Kendall Webb in court and, for all intents and purposes, came out a winner. He received a temporary restraining order that allowed him to compete in the San Diego Section playoffs and was still on the team when it was eliminated.

Price, a slim, 6-foot-1 junior, showed up Friday night at the Spot-bilt Slam Dunk Contest at Mt. Carmel High and competed against the likes of Valhalla’s Tony Clark (6-7) and Mt. Carmel’s Mike Herman (6-5).


So what happened? Price won. Of course.

A surprise to his coach, Tom Medigovich?

“Not the way he can jump,” Medigovich said. “He’s got unbelievable jumping ability.”

Medigovich said Price had a few spectacular dunks during the season but would only take them if he was wide open; otherwise, he settled for the standard meat-and-potatoes layup. Safe, but not as exciting as the variety of spinning dunks he demonstrated to the sellout crowd Friday.


Kevin Flanagan, a center from Torrey Pines High, will participate in the McDonald’s Western Wildcat All-Star game April 15 at the University of Arizona.

Flanagan, who plans to attend Arizona this fall on a basketball scholarship, will compete on a 12-member Western team, which will play a team that has been dubbed “Team USA,” made up of other top high school athletes from around the country.

Flanagan and Torrey Pines Coach John Farrell will be flown to Tucson April 12.