BANGOR, Maine — Husson University athletic director Bob Reasso made a smart decision to hire Gabby Price to return to Husson as its football coach.
Husson was well on its way to becoming a regional football power under Price in 2008 when he resigned due to philosophical differences with the athletic administration.
The Eagles went 7-3 in 2008 under Price and earned an invitation to the ECAC Division III Northeast Bowl. The Eagles lost to St. John Fisher (N.Y.) 17-7 in the bowl game at Husson.
Husson’s two other losses came at the hands of Division II schools Merrimack College and American International College.
Since that time, the Eagles have gone 7-32.
Price went 19-10 in his final three seasons at Husson after going 6-18 over his first three seasons as he built the program from the ground up.
Price is a tough-love, team-first kind of coach.
He is intense, but he is also very compassionate.
He will chew out a player for botching an assignment but, moments later, he will praise that same player for completing one.
He will hold his players accountable for their actions, on and off the field.
That’s the way it should be.
His teams will be physical but disciplined.
His passion for the game and for his players is infectious.
He is a motivator in a sport that requires it.
He will instill confidence in his players and coaches and will get the most out of them.
Parents of his players will feel their sons are in good hands with Gabby and that he will make men out of them. Parents feel their sons will mature under Price and will be ready to tackle this challenging world when they graduate.
That’s one of the many things that make him an effective recruiter.
And Price has always made sure he knew something about all of his players, including the fifth-stringers, and made all of them feel like part of the team.
Team chemistry is very important to Price and having quality people in the locker room, even if they don’t play much, is a vital part of that chemistry.
Price had 114 players on his roster in 2008 and he will probably approach that total again.
There were 61 on this year’s roster.
Price’s recruiting ability is good news for the school.
There are no athletic scholarships allowed at the NCAA Division III level, so players are footing the bill unless they earn other scholarships like academic grants.
Husson is in a healthy situation.
There are only five other colleges that have football in the state and none of them are south of Brunswick.
The University of Southern Maine doesn’t have football.
The University of Maine is the only Division I (Football Championship Subdivision) program and usually gets the best players.
But there were just 12 Maine natives on Maine’s roster this past season, so there are plenty still available.
Colby, Bates and Bowdoin and Maine Maritime Academy are Division III schools that attract a specific type of student-athlete.
Husson has several attractive majors such as physical education, business, hospitality and tourism management, physical therapy, occupational therapy, pharmacy and criminal justice.
And New England School of Communications students can also participate in sports if they meet the academic criteria.
The 63-year-old Price will put Husson back on the football map, and it won’t take long.