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New 'Bama coach in jam over night out

Associated Press
Published May 2, 2003

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama coach Mike Price met with school officials Thursday amid reports he spent hundreds of dollars at a topless bar the night before a woman charged more than $1,000 in food and drinks to his hotel room bill.

His future at Alabama could be decided at a trustees meeting Saturday. University president Robert Witt called for the meeting "to present and discuss his decision regarding Price's status as head football coach."

Price was hired away from Washington State in December and has yet to coach a game with the Tide.

Witt and athletic director Mal Moore met with the coach. Witt said he hoped "to bring closure to this situation as soon as possible."

"This review involves careers and lives, and it has been imperative that it be thorough," the president said.

Price's contract, which remains unsigned, has a clause that says he can be fired for any behavior "that brings employee into public disrepute, contempt, scandal, or ridicule or that reflects unfavorably upon the reputation or the high moral or ethical standards of the University."

This could be another black mark on a program that is on NCAA probation.

Price came under scrutiny after spending time at a nightclub in Pensacola last month while in town for a golf tournament.

"He was here and he was a perfect gentleman," club owner Arety Kapetanis told the Associated Press. "He did not leave with anyone from our club."

Price bought some drinks for himself and dancers, Kapetanis said, adding: "He did not appear to be or act intoxicated. It was good, clean fun."

The next morning, a woman in a hotel room registered to Price ordered more than $1,000 in food and drinks - one of everything on the menu, Andrea Wright, assistant manager of the Crowne Plaza Pensacola Grand, told the Montgomery Advertiser.

The Mobile Register, quoting four workers at the Crowne Plaza, said the woman wanted the food to go.

The hotel contacted Price about the unusual order, and he returned later in the day and paid the bill after the woman left, the Register said. She was not allowed to leave with the order.

Price, 57, is married and has two sons on his coaching staff. He declined comment.

A group of players went to Price's office Thursday to show support. "We're in his corner 100 percent," senior receiver Antonio Carter said. "No matter what, we want him to be our coach."

Quarterback Brodie Croyle described Price's mood as "somewhat ashamed, somewhat embarrassed."

The players said Price told them what happened and apologized. They wouldn't elaborate on what he said.

A dancer, "Destiny" Stahl, told the Birmingham News Price spent about $200 on her but nothing happened beyond dancing.

Kapetanis said Stahl, who works the day shift, was still on duty when Price left and was picked up by her husband. Price, however, returned later that night with some friends.

CLEMSON: Quarterback Willie Simmons, who lost his starting position to freshman Charlie Whitehurst last fall, will transfer. Simmons did not say to which Division I-AA school he will transfer. The senior has to go to a lower-division school to maintain his final year of eligibility.

NORTH CAROLINA STATE: Coach Chuck Amato received a one-year contract extension after guiding the Wolfpack to 10 regular-season wins and a victory over Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl. His new contract runs through 2007. His total annual compensation is thought to be about $750,000.

BOWL BUSINESS: The NCAA dropped the Seattle Bowl after a financially troubled two-year run while also approving the new Fort Worth Bowl. The game, matching teams from the Big 12 and Conference USA, will be played Dec. 23.

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