Price is right for Reed City: Coyote skipper at 9-0 again
REED CITY — In his 14th season leading the Reed City football program, Coyotes head coach Monty Price has worn many hats during his time as a coach, teacher, athletic director and principal at the school.
As the Coyotes last Friday recorded their third-straight 9-0 regular season and third-straight Central State Activities Association (CSAA) title with a win on the road at White Cloud tonight, it’s hard to think that Price might have been wearing a different hat tonight had he followed through with his original career plans.
“I started off playing football (at Ferris State) in college and my focus at the time I started in 1990 was to be a police officer and I had aspirations to be in the FBI,” he said. “I had a relationship with my high school sweetheart and I just kind of started to see a different avenue and wanted to go into education and she was going into education as well, so I thought that was going to be a good fit since I knew she’d be the one I eventually would marry.”
With his sights set on a career in education, Price transferred to Alma College to join the education program there and continue playing football. It was during his time at Alma that Price said he got his first crack at coaching at his alma mater, Montabella.
“I got involved at my old high school right off the get-go as a 19-year old, coaching track, volleyball and football,” he said. “I just felt coaching was my calling and my passion and now here I am and the rest is history.”
Price said after coaching at Montabella during college, he was on the coaching staff at Chippewa Hills for a few years before he took a job at Reed City in 1997 as a physical education teacher, which led to Price becoming the head coach of the Coyotes’ football program in 1999.
Now 14 seasons in, Price has developed a program that is welcoming not only to current players, but past players as well.
“Our relationship with him is awesome,” Reed City senior quarterback Chad Samuels said. “He treats us like we’re his sons everyday and he loves us all so much. We have some characters out here goofing around a little bit trying to have fun, but when we need to be serious, we’re serious and we get done what we need to get done and coach Price trusts us to get the job done.”
“I know (Price) has a rather young coaching staff and he’s got quite a few people on his coaching staff that were players for him and he always has players who want to come back and be on the sidelines with him,” Reed City athletic director Kris Griffin said. “I just think he’s been a great thing for Reed City.”
For Price, the ability to bring back former players to his staff and keep some consistency in the program has been a big part of the Coyotes’ success over the years.
“Three of the guys (on my staff) are former players of mine and the other guys have been here for quite some time,” he said. “That consistency and that relationship and understanding between us knowing each other not only as coaching colleagues, but as people and as friends is a big part of our success as well.
“Consistency is key, in my opinion, in athletics,” he continued. “It means a lot to me because it means the guys are invested in our community and they truly care about our program. But more importantly, you take a player-coach relationship and it develops into a friendship and a partnership and that’s been the most special thing.”
One of the relationships Price has established is his one with Griffin, who’s son, Zack, is now on the Reed City coaching staff after graduating in 2010. That relationship has proven to be important when before this school year, Griffin took over the athletic director duties that Price had held for the previous four years as he took on his new role as high school principal.
“Monty is a great coach,” Griffin said. “I know there was some discussion with him maybe not coaching with his new principal position and I think that would be something that a lot of the community would fight.
“I think our relationship has made the transition just that much smoother,” she continued. “If I have any questions at all, I can just bounce it off of him and he’s been great.”
Price said his recent change from AD to principal hasn’t been too much of a difficulty for him on top of his coaching duties, but he admitted he does miss being the AD at times.
“There’s a few different things and challenges in my day here and there but overall, it’s part of the gig,” he said. “My focus is academics and education and the relationship with students during the day. Then when I walk out of the school at 3:30 during the football season, I put on a different hat and it’s about the relationships with my athletes. It’s pretty status quo and it’s been an easy transition.
“I miss the AD stuff a lot,” he continued. “My love and my passion is athletics and the scheduling aspects of it and dealing with the coaches and dealing with the ADs in the CSAA, who are a great group of people. I do miss that, but we’ve got a great athletic director who’s filled my shoes quite well and believes in a lot of the same things I believe in.”
With a firm grasp on his all of his jobs with the school, Price and the Coyotes have been able to build a football program over the years that now expects to not only win, but to win every game.
“I think the biggest attribute to our success has been our consistency,” Price said. “We’ve progressed and adapted, but the core principals have been constant from 1999 until today. The way we teach things are very similar from the onset and we’ve just tried to take our schemes, technique and our fundamentals to teaching the game and just tried to better it.
“We don’t have the biggest kids or the fastest kids, but our kids know what they’re doing,” he continued. “It’s been so simplified over the years that our kids are just good at it and you see that execution on Friday nights.”
That execution carried out by the Coyotes put them in the position to clinch another undefeated season and league title, but they’re only focusing on their first-round playoff game tonight with Clare at the moment.
“I haven’t sat down and really thought about it yet,” Samuels said. “It’s really cool to be a part of it. My sophomore year, we didn’t think we had a chance to (go undefeated) and the next year, we didn’t think we could do it and this year, we knew it was going to be tough. But there’s just a great tradition here and for us seniors, we just need to be leaders and motivate the young guys to keep the tradition going.”
Price said the memories and relationships he’s developed in his time at Reed City means more than any win-loss record.
“It’s been a pretty awesome thing,” he said. “The community has been wonderful. I’ve enjoyed my years here at Reed City and I consider it to be my home now. I’ve established a lot of wonderful relationships with a lot of great people and kids. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Coyote pride is in my blood.”