High School Football: Musselman's Price gives up football tag

December 20, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI |
  • Denny Price
Denny Price

INWOOD, W.Va. — Denny Price learned that one can travel very far by just staying in one place.

That long journey for Musselman’s football coach officially ended on Thursday.

Price stepped to the podium in Musselman’s school library to make his final appearance as the Applemen’s coach, a position he held for 40 seasons.

It was the final stop on Price’s tour. He met with his team to tell them of his decision — one that wasn’t mentioned at the fall sports banquet — and he informed Berkeley County School Superintendent Manny Arvon that he was retiring on Tuesday.

On Thursday, while wearing a school-colored green sweater, Price looked around at the crowd of about 70 well-wishers and media representatives and marveled at a career that defined Musselman as a state football power for many years.

“I’ve been so lucky to be able to get up every morning and not having to worry about going to work,” Price said. “I was able to worry about a lot of other things. It was all about finding something to do in my adult life and for my livelihood. I’ve been blessed.

“At my age, it’s all about the relationships. Being around people keeps you young.”

Price’s livelihood — and primary claim to fame — was on the sidelines at Applemen Field, where he went 274-160-1 in his tenure, primarily as a Class AA team. Musselman won three state titles (1974, 1982 and 1995) under Price before the school stepped up to the Class AAA level.

Price took over as Musselman’s coach in 1973 at age 23. He was extremely young, but won his first state title in his second season.

From there, he ran his tight, no-nonsense ship, but tacked to certain adjustments to account for talent.

“People come back to the school and say I mellowed,” Price said. “I’ve had a lot of time to mellow.

“When you are a young coach, winning is all it’s about. As I progressed, it became more about seeing young kids develop. That was the joy.”

Price has never been one for the spotlight. He preferred to remain off the grid and work with his team to gain edges. He’s was one of the first coaches in the area to start the Applemen’s season with a “Midnight Madness” practice, starting at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 1 to give the team an extra, but fun,  practice.

South Berkeley County changed from a rural community to a bustling town over his stay. With that, and the influx of players moving into the area, Price found himself having to make changes to stay with the times.

There were a couple of lean years, but the program remained true and bounced back to its high competitive standards.

“Everyone knows Denny Price and his tradition and dedication to the school,” said Musselman athletic director Steve Campbell as he introduced the coach to friends, former colleagues and administrators. “He’s brought us some great times in South Berkeley County and has done it while following all the rules and guidelines.”

Guidelines, discipline and relationships were the main themes for Price over the years. It benefited him as a coach and stayed true to him as an educator.

“All through the years, there has been a great staff here,” Price said. “The relationships are what it’s all about. You work with people, you don’t just punch a clock. Time isn’t a factor. It’s about working to get better.”

Musselman will begin the process of finding Price’s replacement, and a few Applemen assistants are applying for the job.

Stoic to the end, Price allowed himself one moment of emotion when he talked about his wife Penny and the way she supported his decision to coach.

“I’m going to miss it,” Price admitted. “I tell the young guys who are going for the job, ‘Go get them. You’ll have fun.’”

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