Eric Price enters his second season as the Tigers' offensive coordinator. In 2011, Price will shift from wide receivers to the running backs.
In 2010, the Tiger offense was looking to recover from losing two of the top receivers and one of the top running backs in school history. The offensive line was touted as one of the most experienced groups, but the system changed to a pro-style offense and that caused some growing pains.
Price worked to develop an offense that could help an inexperienced quarterback grow as the season progressed, as the Tigers' two primary starters were true freshman Ryan Williams and sophomore Cannon Smith, who took limited snaps at Miami (Fla.) the previous year. The Tigers settled in by mid-year and were averaging about 250 yards of total offense a game in the final seven contests.
Price helped guide receiver Marcus Rucker to his most productive season, as he led the receiving corps with 704 yards and eight touchdowns on 41 receptions. Price had three other receivers log over 200 yards, and the receivers accounted for 14 of the team's touchdowns in 2010. In addition, the Tigers logged 37 receiving plays over 20 yards.
Price has experience both at the collegiate and professional level. His most recent appointment prior to Memphis was as the wide receivers coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. In 2008, he coached Dwayne Bowe, who logged 86 catches for 1,022 yards.
Price got his initial NFL coaching experience as an offensive assistant with the N.Y. Jets from 2001-02. He was instrumental in the development of Jets quarterback Chad Pennington. Price helped prepare Pennington for his move into the starting lineup, as he opened the final 12 games of the 2002 season.
Price owns an extensive background as an offensive coach on the collegiate level, enjoying stints coaching both wide receivers and quarterbacks, in addition to his experience as an offensive coordinator.
Prior to joining the Chiefs, Price served as the offensive coordinator at UTEP for four seasons (2004-07) under his father, Mike Price. In addition, he tutored the wide receivers his first three years with the Miners before coaching the quarterbacks in 2007. He led an offensive attack that scored 30 or more points on 30 different occasions and racked up 400 or more yards of total offense 28 times in the four seasons.
While at UTEP, Price oversaw an offensive unit that featured a pair of record-setting players. Quarterback Trevor Vittatoe threw for 3,101 yards and 25 touchdowns for the Miners in 2007, the best totals by a freshman in school history. His 3,101 passing yards were the second-highest total by a freshman in the nation. Receiver Jeff Moturi caught 13 touchdown passes, the second-highest total in Miners history, and had a score in 10-consecutive games. The running game featured running back Marcus Thomas, who ran for 1,166 yards and 16 touchdowns, the second-highest total in school history.
In 2006, UTEP ranked fifth in the country in passing offense under Price's leadership, averaging 312.8 passing yards per game. Jordan Palmer threw for a school-record 3,595 yards, as the club compiled 3,754 total passing yards, the best mark in school history. All-America receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins Jr. averaged 109.9 receiving yards per game to rank second in the nation. He finished his career owning school records with 3,218 receiving yards, 32 touchdown receptions and 11 100-yard games.
The Miners scored 30 or more points in seven games and topped the 40-point plateau on four occasions in 2005. Price helped the offense rank ninth in the nation by averaging 300.6 passing yards per game. The offense featured three receivers who posted 100-yard receiving games.
The Pullman, Washington native also served as the quarterbacks coach for three seasons at Washington State (1998-2000) while his father, Mike, served as the head coach. The younger Price helped develop quarterbacks Jason Gesser and Matt Kegel during his time with the Cougars.
Price got his start in coaching in 1985 when he worked with two Australian club teams. He landed his first collegiate coaching position in 1990 when he was appointed a student assistant at his alma mater, Weber State. He progressed to the Division I-A ranks in 1991 when he joined the Washington State staff as a volunteer assistant working with quarterbacks and receivers. Among his proteges that year was future pro standout Drew Bledsoe.
Price worked with a pair of high-powered offenses as a graduate assistant at Hawaii and Miami (Fla.) the next three years. The Rainbow Warriors rated fifth nationally in total offense in 1991, as Price coached the wide receivers. In 1992 and 1993, he directed the wide receivers and ran the defensive scout team at Miami. The Hurricanes led the country in passing offense in 1992 and played for the national title in the Sugar Bowl. In two years with Price on the staff, Miami went 20-4 and featured three receivers who went on to starting assignments in the NFL.
Price coached the wide receivers at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo from 1994-95, and again at Northern Arizona from 1996-97. Cal Poly SLO was second in Division I-AA in passing and total offense in 1995. Price helped NAU rank first in I-AA in total offense and third in passing in 1996. The Lumberjacks reached the I-AA playoffs for the first time in school history. NAU had a quarterback who threw for 3,000 yards and a running back who ran for 2,000 yards, another first in the history of the program.
Price prepped at Ogden High, where he was a standout receiver. He earned USA Today honorable mention All-America honors after reeling in 77 passes for over 1,000 yards his senior year. He led the state in receiving en route to being tabbed an all-state, all-league and al-area selection.
Price played at the collegiate level for Dixie Junior College (1986-87) and Weber State (1988-91). He was coached by his father at Weber in 1988. He earned his bachelor's degree in physical education in 1990.
Price and his wife, Jody, have a daughter, Emma, and a son, Andrew.