Official says 'school needed to make a change'
Greg Price, who spent 17 years at Liberty Christian as a football coach and served as the head coach and boys athletic director since 2009, was fired Thursday morning.
A search is underway for a new head football coach and athletic director. Assistant athletic director Zack Vest will serve in an interim AD role until a replacement is found.
Price, who has worked at Liberty for his entire professional career, said he was told by the school’s headmaster, Ed Cook, and president, Rodney Haire, that he no longer had a job.
“I haven’t really been given a real reason yet,” Price said. “The reason that was given to me, which I don’t want to go into, was only said to me for the first time ever when I was removed. There was no warning or anything. I don’t know what happened. I know Liberty Christian is a special place. My girls have grown up there. My wife and children will still be there because it’s a special place. It’s the only job I’ve ever had. I’m going to miss it. I’m heartbroken and shocked, all at the same time.”
Price took over prior to the 2009 season when he replaced the late Mark Bowles, who started the school’s football program and was the head coach for 26 seasons, winning three state championships. Price was on Bowles’ staff starting in 1997 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2003. Price won one state championship with the Warriors, as offensive coordinator in 2007.
Prior to his time at Liberty, Price was a graduate assistant coach at North Texas in 1995 and 1996 after playing for the Mean Green in 1993 and 1994.
“They have their reasons,” Price said. “I have to trust that they sought the Lord. Honestly, I believe in my heart that they’re making a mistake, but only time will tell.”
In his five seasons as head coach, Price’s record was 41-23 as the Warriors reached the TAPPS state semifinals in 2010 and 2013 and the state championship game in 2009.
Haire, the school’s founder more than three decades ago, said Price is highly respected throughout the school and the move was made simply because of restructuring in the athletic department and the thought that the program needed to go in another direction.
“We felt like we needed to make several changes, and they all involve good people,” Haire said. “The school is growing and we have different needs, and we believed it was in the best interest of the school to make a change in the structure of the athletic department.”
Haire added that Price is the only head coaching change happening at the school. He said Price’s performance had nothing to do with the decision and the coach lived up to his end of the bargain in that regard.
“Most situations like this have a definitive reason as to why you’d make a change,” Haire said. “This is just an overall feeling that the school needed to make a change. That’s as honest as I can be.
“I really can’t say enough good things about Greg. I would just tell any school that Greg would be a wonderful candidate for hire. He’s a good friend and absolutely trustworthy and above reproach from an integrity point of view. I think the world of him.”
Price said he has the utmost respect for Haire and Cook but still is questioning why he no longer is employed by the school, which his daughters attend and where his wife, Julie, is the dance team instructor.
“I have no regrets about the way I conducted myself,” Price said. “I have no regrets about how I related to parents and kids or mentored my coaches. That was the job I was asked to do — to prepare these kids for the next 60 years of their life. I believe I did that. I believe I did the job I was asked to do. I have no regrets. It was never about me or my record; it was about the kids and putting them in an opportunity to be successful.
“There’s two types of coaches in the world: one that has been fired and one that’s about to be. I know football is very big and important, and maybe I wasn’t big enough.”
Price said he has received an outpouring of support and phone calls from players — former and present — as well as several coaches, including UNT head coach Dan McCarney. Price said that, despite his sadness, he believes he will land on his feet soon and be just fine in the near future.
“I’m going to hope in the Lord that he has a plan for me,” Price said. “I’ll pray for patience, and I hope he will reveal his plan for me and it’ll be very obvious what he’d like me to do moving forward. As for now, I’m heartbroken. The thought of not being at Liberty Christian brings me to tears.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.