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Price Remembered as Great Coach, Proud Father

Community saddened by news of teacher Mike Price's passing.

The community awoke Friday to news of the passing of teacher and coach Mike Price.

Price, 51, was physical education teacher at and coached middle school track, middle school wrestling and high school football. He passed away in his sleep, according to friends.

Price leaves behind his wife, Merry, and children Renee, Matt and Amanda.

He is remembered in the community as a great coach, excellent educator and proud father.

Heritage Elementary School principal Les Sharon was deeply saddened by the news.

“The only words I can find right now are simply to say that everyone at Heritage loved Mike. The kids loved him, the parents loved him, the staff loved him,” Sharon said. “His gym or his office is where I went when the day wasn't going well and I needed a guaranteed boost in outlook. His office was always crowded with staff who were there for the same purpose. His loss is nothing short of devastating.”

During their last discussion, Price was “ecstatic” because he and fellow physical education teacher Grant Fanning had raised $11,000 for the American Heart Association.

“Mike was one of the finest human beings I have ever met,” Sharon said.

Saline Athletic Director Rob White said Price touched many lives in the community.

“Mike was entrenched, not just in athletics, but the entire community. As a physical education teacher, he taught most of the students in the district. He was a driver’s ed instructor. A lot of people learned how to drive a car from Mike. He coached so many kids. He touched so many lives,” White said.

What White remembers most is the way Price talked about his children.

“He was just so proud of them. When his daughter (Amanda) was selected as captain of the basketball team by her peers, he was ecstatic,” White said. “He always had a story about one of his kids at the tip of his tongue. There are a lot of ups and downs in athletics. But he was always so supportive.

Cindy Barnett coached middle school track and field with him for seven years. She said Price was a great father, and that the kids he coached benefitted from that his big heart.

“He was the kind of coach you want your child to learn from. He was such a big guy and imposing figure who commanded the attention of the middle school kids. But he was a big teddy bear,” Barnett said. “He loved the kids and wanted to see them improve and succeed. He was a great influence on all the people he touched. He’ll be missed.”

Superintendent Scot Graden worked with Price as a coach and teacher for 14 years.

“He truly loved to connect with kids and had a unique skill of letting the students know that he cared about them,” Graden said. Quoting a letter I received about Mike from a parent, ‘Coach Price has always been a positive influence on my son’s life both on and off the field.’ Our condolences go out to his family.”

Heritage Elementary School sent a voicemail to parents with news of Price’s death and asked them to sit down with children tonight and deliver the news.

“We know that parents are the best people to support the students when they here about Mr. Price,” Sharon said. “We also sent tips on how to help students through a loss like this and let them know that the counseling staff will be on hand next week to help students who need it.”

Price was hired in August of 1997. He was a graduate of Monroe High School. He went on to play football at Eastern Michigan University, where he earned a bacherlor’s degree. He earned a master’s degree from Marygrove College.

He enjoyed coaching, hunting, fishing and being outdoors.

abby updegraff December 16, 2011 at 11:10 PM
Very sad day for Saline and our students today! You will be missed!
Claudia Whitsitt December 17, 2011 at 12:09 AM
Mike touched countless lives and leaves a community devastated by his loss. He will be sorely missed. We are so grateful to have had him in our lives.
alex December 17, 2011 at 12:14 AM
Sad...I had him as a gymteacher. Great guy.
Ted Ewoldt December 17, 2011 at 01:48 AM
I had him for Gym and as a wrestling coach the first year he was hired. As a coach he sat in on my parent teacher conference to make sure I knew the importance of my grades. A great influence certainly.
Dixie Garvin December 17, 2011 at 08:38 PM
I am sorry to hear of his passing. He was a wonderful and caring person. He was one of favorite teachers at Muscatine High School in the late 80's. My prayers are with his family.
Sarai December 18, 2011 at 12:25 AM
i had him as a gym teacher..... he was the best. he will be dearly missed by his students family and friends
Bobby December 18, 2011 at 01:18 AM
I Had Him As A Techer He Was Very Nice It's Sad To See Him Gone
Steve Sparbel December 19, 2011 at 02:26 AM
coach Price was a great mentor and friend in 1987 as he pushed me to become the best wrestler i could on my way to a state runner up finish. Im very sadden to hear his passing. i feel very lucky to have been his friend. You will be missed coach.
Michael A. Vara December 19, 2011 at 02:44 PM
My friend, No matter if we were fishing, hunting, tasting his latest wild game fare he just smoked, sitting around a tailgate, eating his turtle soup or just busting our butts to wire up his cabin, he was ALWAYS a jolly guy. A perfect example of a person you don't judge by the cover, A very large intimidating man but really he was just a Teddy bear who was just looking for some fun. He is already missed in my life and will always be missed, I thank him for the memories we had. " Thanks my friend and save a spot for the fat mexican" M.A.V.
Ted December 22, 2011 at 04:47 AM
Coach Price was like a father figure for those of us that were part of the Hornet Football family. I've never met a more intense figure that could make you do something just by giving you a look, but at the same time he knew how to show kindness. Even though he wasn't the Head coach of the football team I think everyone looked up to him more than anyone else on the coaching staff because all his words were sincere and people took those words to the heart. Coach it was an honor playing for you and those years under your leadership will be moments I will never forget. I truly love you and watch over me and guide me as you have before. My prayers go out to the Price family.
AnnMarie January 28, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Still missing you more than anyone could imagine. Scott's not the same since u left. I'll try to be good to him for u. I still have your peanut butter fudge in the fridge. I can't finish it now. I love u and miss u. AnnMarie Campbell
Sara Damo August 23, 2012 at 07:11 AM
Mr.Price was my favorite teacher we really miss him
Ashleigh Brinne Braswell December 21, 2012 at 01:28 AM
I Missed Him So Much He is My Favorite GymTeacher He Know My Name and Joey Two
Ashleigh Brinne Braswell December 21, 2012 at 02:15 AM
I Missed Mr Price So Much
Ashleigh Brinne Braswell December 21, 2012 at 02:17 AM
I Cry So Hard So is My Friend Her Name is Alyssia Warren

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