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UTEP's Price retiring after 31 years as head coach

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UTEP's Price retiring after 31 years as head coach

EL PASO, Texas (AP) UTEP coach Mike Price is retiring after a 31-year career notable for two Rose Bowl bids at Washington State and a drinking binge that cost him the Alabama job before he ever coached a game for the Crimson Tide.

Price announced the decision Monday with one game left in his ninth season with the Miners (3-8). He led UTEP to 8-4 records and bowl games his first two years in El Paso but hasn't had a winning record since.

The 66-year-old Price, who started at Weber State in 1981, has a 177-182 career record entering his final game Saturday at home against Rice. He is sixth among active FBS coaches in wins.

``I'm retiring from the game I've loved my entire life,'' Price said at a campus news conference.

Price's son, Aaron Price, is UTEP's offensive coordinator, but the elder Price said he was endorsing defensive coordinator Andre Patterson as the next head coach.

``I wish I could coach here forever,'' Price said. ``But that doesn't happen. That's the reality of life.''

Athletic director Bob Stull said Patterson would be considered for a hire he hopes to make before Christmas.

``I think we've got things in place to be very competitive,'' Stull said. ``We need to keep some continuity in what we're doing.''

Price, who coached Drew Bledsoe and Ryan Leaf in 14 years at Washington State, was a surprise choice to replace Dennis Franchione at Alabama after the 2002 season. He was set for a seven-year, $10 million contract when he admitted he drank heavily and went to a strip club after attending a golf tournament in Florida in the spring of 2003.

Price sued the school for $20 million over his firing, but a judge threw out the lawsuit, noting the fact that Price never signed the contract. He also sued Sports Illustrated over a report that alleged he had sex with two women in his hotel room. That lawsuit was settled.

He stayed away from coaching for a year, and UTEP fans embraced him from the start, especially after his first team went to the 2004 Houston Bowl and lost a competitive game to Colorado. The Miners started 8-1 his second season but lost the last three games to begin a slide back to mediocrity that had defined the program for decades.

Even though the Miners started this season 1-3, there was promise because all three losses were competitive games against Oklahoma, Mississippi and Wisconsin. But three straight losses to Conference USA teams followed, and the Miners barely beat Southern Miss, the nation's only winless team, on Saturday.

Price brought his wife, Joyce, to the podium for part of his retirement speech, and fought back tears as he spoke of his close relationship with Stull, who decided to hire him less than a year after the Alabama scandal. Price didn't mention his brief Alabama stint in a roughly half-hour news conference.

``He has been 100 percent supportive of me and really loyal,'' Price said of Stull. ``When the going gets bad, boy, he's really good. He's at his best. I didn't win enough games. Period.''

While he finished with a losing record at UTEP, Price brought the Miners recognition they'd never seen by persuading Texas coach Mack Brown and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops to visit the Sun Bowl when it wasn't the New Year's Eve bowl game.

The first El Paso meeting between the Longhorns and Miners in 2008 was the most anticipated in program history and drew a record crowd of 53,415. UTEP almost knocked off then-No. 4 Oklahoma to start this season.

Price remained a hit in the community even as the losing seasons piled up, and he said planned to stay in El Paso.

``Mike has brought a level of national attention and respect to UTEP that only an elite coach could bring,'' Stull said. ``While Mike's coaching accolades are extensive, his greatest value has come in the warmth and love that he has shown the people of El Paso.''

Price started his career in 1969 with the first of two stints as an assistant at Washington State. He was also on the staffs at Missouri and Puget Sound, his alma mater.

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Need to Know: The best receivers the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best receivers the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 17, nine days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best pass catchers the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the pass catchers are up. They are roughly ranked 2017 receiving yards, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors. Prior to this, we looked at the best teams and quarterbacks

Julio Jones, Falcons—Somehow the perception is that he had an off year in 2017 even though he still had 1,444 yards receiving. His touchdowns were down; his total of three TDs was a career worst for a full season. Still, he’s a beast to try to cover and even if you have him perfectly covered he can still make the catch on you. 

DeAndre Hopkins, Texans—Despite working with some shaky quarterbacks, Hopkins has managed to gain over 1,100 receiving yards in three of the last four seasons. He is a highlight show regular and his 13 touchdowns led the league in 2017. 

Michael Thomas, Saints—The third-year player doesn’t have high name recognition outside of New Orleans and maybe fans of the other NFC South teams. Defensive coordinators certainly don’t sleep on him. Thomas is as consistent as they come, posting nine games with 80 or more receiving yards last season. 

Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals—I keep wondering when he will show signs of his age (he’ll be 35 before the season starts). He didn’t last year, posting 109 receptions despite the fact that his quarterbacks were an aging Carson Palmer plus journeymen Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton. 

Mike Evans, Buccaneers—At 6-5, he is able to physically beat most cornerbacks. Evans will turn 25 just before the season starts and he got a five-year, $82.5 million contract extension. He is worth every bit of it. If Jameis Winston gets a big contract (something that is up in the air right now), he owes a good chunk of it to Evans. 

Best of the rest: T.Y. Hilton, Colts; Davante Adams, Packers; Alvin Kamara (RB), Saints; Zach Ertz (TE), Eagles

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 9
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 23
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 46

The Redskins last played a game 198 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 54 days. 

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Bryce Harper's 2018 Home Run Derby win by the numbers

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Bryce Harper's 2018 Home Run Derby win by the numbers

Bryce Harper is the 2018 Home Run Derby champion.

In his home ballpark, Harper put on a show Washington won't soon forget.

He ran through a division foe in the first round in Freddie Freeman, took out a strong, hefty lefty in the semifinals in Max Muncy and then hit nine home runs in 47 seconds in the final minute of the final round when it seemed like he had no chance. On the second swing of his 30 seconds of extra time, Harper launched a bomb to deep center field to win.

And while winning the Home Run Derby in his own ballpark is an impressive feat on its own, the numbers behind his victory make it all the more impressive.


3.

He is just the third hometown winner of the Home Run Derby in the history of the event. Todd Frazier did it most recently in 2016 in Cincinnati, and Ryne Sandberg won at Wrigley Field in Chicago in 1990.

13.

Harper won each of the first two rounds with 13 homers. He didn't need his full time in either of the first two rounds.

446 & 441.

Harper's first two home runs of his first-round matchup against Freeman traveled farther than any of the Braves' superstar's dingers.


10.

In the semifinals, Harper only hit three homers in the first minute, but then blasted 10 in his next 11 swings. That's called efficiency.


5.

In the first round, Harper hit five of the 10 longest home runs of anybody in the field.


45.

Harper hit 45 bombs en route to claiming the title. Here's a visual representation of all of them.

That's also how many dollars cheaper Nats tickets will be... oops!


2.

That's John Wall's number and this is him celebrating his fellow D.C. sports superstar's victory.


19,058.

Bryce Harper hit an absurd 19,058 feet of home runs during the 2018 Home Run Derby. That's more than the 5k you ran last year.

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