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WSU, Price Move Closer To A New Deal Athletic Director, Football Coach Cram Talks Into Travel Schedules

Wed., Jan. 21, 1998

Mike Price and Rick Dickson, separated by whirlwind schedules since Washington State’s appearance in the Rose Bowl three weeks ago, have moved closer to an agreement that will make Price one of the highest paid football coaches in the Pacific-10 Conference.

“We had a good discussion this weekend, the one time that we did get to sit down,” Dickson said Tuesday. “Then, I had to leave and I got back late last night, and he had already left to resume recruiting, so we didn’t get to complete everything.

“But we had a great discussion and there didn’t seem to be any foreseeable problems.”

Price has two years remaining on a contract that pays $252,970 annually in total compensation. The new deal will last longer than five seasons and be worth roughly $450,000 annually in guaranteed money, a highly placed source said last week.

Only four Pac-10 coaches earn more in guaranteed money.

Price hasn’t signed the extension because there hasn’t been time to fully discuss some of the details, Dickson said.

Price’s recruiting schedule keeps him out of town up to five days per week. Dickson has also been on the go - he’ll spend part of this week attending Pac-10 meetings in Walnut Creek, Calif.

“It’ll be closer to next weekend or shortly thereafter,” Dickson said. There appears to be no rush.

“I think the understanding is out there,” Dickson added. “There’s nothing out there that indicates Mike wants to do anything but want to be here, and we’ve known that for some time. It’s a matter of getting this executed at a difficult time.”

Washington recently found time to rework Jim Lambright’s contract, but WSU has been forced to operate on a different timetable, Dickson said.

“They had some time to do exactly what Mike and I haven’t, because their bowl game was Dec. 25, during that dead period (for recruiting),” he said. “They had some time to sit down and discuss details. We’ve been trying to do that in passing and on the run, and that makes it difficult.”

One potential recruit reportedly selected Oregon over WSU at least partially because of uncertainty over Price’s contract situation, but that case seems to be an exception.

The Cougars have reportedly received more than a dozen oral commitments. Derek Dillon and Tim Lemon, two highly regarded high school receivers from California, are among them. Signing day is Feb. 4.

“There doesn’t seem to be any fallout in recruiting,” Dickson said.

Price was out of town and could not be reached for comment. He has previously expressed interest in remaining at WSU, where he has compiled a 53-49 record in nine seasons while taking the Cougars to three bowl games, more than any coach in school history.

, DataTimes

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