Tic Price, one of the brightest and energetic young coaches in America, is beginning his third season as head coach of the Memphis Tigers.
Driven. Disciplinarian. Passionate. Tireless worker. Focused. Has a strong craving for his family and basketball. That's a short introduction to Tic Price.
In just his first month on the job, Price had Tiger fans and the city buzzing after inking three of the top junior college players in the country, along with one of the city's most talented high school seniors. Price and his staff topped that effort the next year by bringing in a top-ten rated class, which was highlighted by local prep star Paris London.
In his first year at the helm, Price and the Tigers exceeded all expectations by going 17-12, winning the National Division of C-USA and advancing to the NIT. Last year, a young but talented Tiger team posted a 13-15 record.
George "Tic" Price, who became the University of Memphis' 14th head coach on March 27, 1997, has earned eight different coach of the year honors in just five seasons as a head coach.
Price signed on with Memphis after leading the University of New Orleans to a 63-27 record, two Sun Belt Conference championships, an NCAA bid and a 1997 NIT appearance. Also at UNO, Price became the first coach to win 20 or more games in three consecutive seasons at New Orleans, while setting the Sun Belt Conference career record for winning percentage in league games (.759) and collecting a record 22 consecutive conference home wins.
A 19-year veteran of the collegiate coaching ranks, Price has received numerous accolades during his coaching tenure. He was named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year in 1996-97, the Basketball Times South Region Coach of the Year in 1996-97, the National Association of Basketball Coaches District 8 Coach of the Year three years in a row (1994-97). He was also chosen Louisiana Sportswriters Coach of the Year in 1995-96 and again in 1996-97. With UNO's 20-11 record in 1994-95, Price was the winningest rookie coach in Division I basketball.
Price went to New Orleans as an assistant coach under Tommy Joe Eagles in 1994, but was named head coach after Eagles' unexpected death in July of 1994.
After an unforgettable first year at the helm, Price led the Privateers to a mark of 21-9 in 1995-96, claiming the Sun Belt Conference championship with a 57-56 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock and received a bid to the NCAA East Regional in Richmond, Va., where the team lost to North Carolina.
In 1996-97, the Privateers posted a record of 22-7 and participated in postseason competition in the NIT.
Offense and defense have played equal parts in Price's successful career. While at UNO, the Privateers set a school record by making 167 three-pointers in 1994-95, then topped that mark with 189 the following season. But Price is just as proud that his team led the Sun Belt Conference in field goal percentage defense for three consecutive years.
Price has been involved in collegiate basketball for more than half his life. Following a four-year playing career, Price spent 14 years as an assistant coach working at Roanoke College, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion and Auburn. He was Eagles' top assistant at Auburn during the 1993-94 season, Price's only year at the Southeastern Conference school.
Price, a native of Danville, Va., played collegiate basketball at Virginia Commonwealth (1974-76) and Virginia Tech (1977-79). During his four seasons of competition, Price scored 1,147 points and had 554 rebounds. He averaged 11.1 points per game during his career. In his two seasons at Virginia Tech, the Hokies had a combined record of 41-17, won the Metro Conference Tournament and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Hokies' Metro title came in 1979 at Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis and their NCAA tourney loss in the second round came at the hands of Larry Bird and Indiana State. He was all-state his senior year at Danville's George Washington High School, and he still holds the VCU single-game record for points by a freshman with 36.
The 43-year-old Price is married to the former Jamie Lynn Simms of Baton Rouge, La. The couple has a son, Ryan, age 15, and a daughter, Chanel, age 8.
Price Year By Year As A Head Coach
OVERALL CONFERENCE POSTSEASON SEASON SCHOOL W-L PCT W-L PCT RANK CONFERENCE TOURNEY NCAA/NIT 1994-95 UNO 20-11 .645 13-5 .722 2nd 1-1, semifinalist ----------- 1995-96 UNO 21-9 .700 14-4 .778 T-1st 3-0, CHAMPION 0-1, NCAA 1996-97 UNO 22-7 .759 14-4 .778 T-1st 1-1, seminalist 0-1, NIT 1997-98 Memphis 17-12 .586 12-4 .750 1st 0-1 1-1, NIT 1998-99 Memphis 13-15 .464 6-10 .375 T-2nd 0-1 ----------- Total 93-54 .633 59-27 .786 -- 5-4 1-3