COACH OF THE YEAR: RON PRICE, New Albany High School

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

Ron Price sees the physical wounds every day; he deals with the mental scars, too. There’s no escaping what happened the night of Dec. 5, 2011.
Price’s wife, Amanda, was shot and killed by a home intruder. He was also wounded during the tragic encounter that shocked the region and changed his life forever.
“You live with it every day,” said Price, New Albany High School’s head football coach. “I have the bullet wound (on his right shoulder) and scars on my arms from the broken glass.
“It’s a constant reminder.”
For Price, the Daily Journal’s 2012 Coach of the Year, directing the New Albany Bulldogs’ weekly exploits – with the support of a dedicated and supportive coaching staff and roster full of determined players – played a huge part in his healing process.
“Football is what I’m comfortable with. It helped me so much,” he said. “I loved football season, moving from one game to the next. It helped me escape from reality.”
Price praised the work and support he received from his coaching staff: Jalon Bullock, Jamie Coleman, Jay Cossey, Rolandus Cox, Josh Davis, Buddy Hall, Trent Jones, Michael Kelly and Bob Monroe. Cossey is Amanda Price’s brother.
“We went through this together as a staff and a team. I could not have done this by myself,” Price said.
The team, which dedicated its season to Amanda, won an emotional season opener against Ripley, then recovered from a 2-4 start to defeat defending state champion Lafayette and win the Division 2-4A championship.
“The Ripley win was very, very special … especially with everything being focused on Amanda,” Price said. “It was amazing to see this team come together after the 2-4 start. They wanted this season to be special for Amanda.”
The win against Lafayette was huge for the program.
“It’s the biggest win we’ve had in my five years here,” Price said. “Nobody gave us a chance.”
New Albany finished with an 8-5 record after losing in the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
“These kids laid it on the line for Amanda every Friday night. They knew how much she cared about them,” Price said. “(Senior running back) Boston Newsome would always tell them: ‘Remember who we’re doing this for.’
“They all wanted it to be special for her.”
gene.phelps@journalinc.com