Alabama President Robert Witt says he is "terminating Coach Price's employment. In an answer to a reporter's question Witt said, "Coach Price had been warned several weeks ago about his public conduct. His conduct in Florida was not consistent with the warning he received."
"Coach Mike Price is a great coach and a good man. He's a man who's made a mistake that he deeply regrets. His mistake severely hurt our university and will hurt our university for years to come. To be selected for a leadership position at the University of Alabama is an honor and a responsibility. When you accept the honor you accept the responsibility and that responsiblity includes conducting your personal and professional life in a manner consistent with university policies."
My greatest regret today is for a group of young men that I've only recently had an opportunity to meet personally, our football players, who bear no responsibility for the situation this university is in, but who once again will have to endure a period of uncertainty. The trustees of this university have charged me with the responsiblity to make decisions that I believe best serve the interest of the university I greatly appreaciate the advice and council I have received today and in recent days."
Athletic Director Mal Moore was scheduled to meet after the announcement with coaches and players. Witt said he would be meeting with Moore on Sunday to start the search for a new coach. Witt said Moore would play a leadership role in the transition and that "Mal Moore's job is not in jeopardy."
Witt would not speculate who would be on a list to be the Tide's next choice. He said no decision had been made concerning Price's assistants. Witt stated he hoped some of them would chose to remain with the university.
Price, who had yet to coach a game at Alabama, had a clause in his still as yet unsigned contract which said he can be fired for behavior "that brings employee into public disrepute, contempt, scandal, or ridicule or that reflects unfavorably upon the reputation or the high moral or ethical standards of the University."
According to Witt, Mal Moore had an earlier discussion with Price about Price's conduct and Price was warned that his conduct was not consistent with university policy.
Price apologized to his wife, family, team, coaches and the university. "I beg for your forgiveness and pray to God every day for his forgiveness," said Price. "I've come to appreciate the honor and the privilege associated with Alabama football...and to realize that I may have adversely affected the program in any way is really personally devastating to me."
"I want to make this clear, I pledge to everyone...that something like this will never ever happen again to Mike Price...I will learn from this and I will seek help to improve certain areas of my personal life that need improvement," said Price.
Price continued, "I asked President Witt for a second chance and he declined, whatever happened to a second chance in life....President Witt did not give me that opportunity... I 've been doing this for many years and you don't have to go very many places to ask my players about second chances in life... I really believe the University of Alabama is bigger and better than this...Why do we have a university?...I really felt like this was an opportunity for the university to stand up and stand behind me and stand behind someone they said they believed in and help him be a better person and overcome this adversity...I didn't get that opportunity."
" I do not think this is the best thing for this program at this time. One week ago I could have made a statement. At the request of President Witt, I was asked by President Witt not to say anything...and then I didn't get an opportunity to go in to the board of trustees and give them my side of the story. I just don't think it's right," added Price.
Before the board went into executive session, Alabama players were given a chance to speak. Wesley Britt told the board Coach Price had 100% support from the Alabama players. Brodie Croyle asked the board to "show mercy. I'm sure y'all have made mistakes. He realizes he made a mistake...Please, have mercy."
Shaud Williams told the board, "Price has made football fun again. If you want us to go on and be better men, I ask that you keep Coach Price."
Price's son Aaron said he would always love his father. "He's done more for me and the family to show us character and how to act....Give us a second chance," said Aaron Price.