Price left legacy as ‘classy coach’

Calm, cool and collected.

That was Harold Price, a former football coach and athletic director at Hollidaysburg Area High School who passed away last week at his Hollidaysburg residence at the age of 81.

Price taught and coached at Hollidaysburg from 1978 until his retirement in 1996, compiling a record of 147-56-2. During his tenure, the Golden Tigers won five District 6 championships — 1985, 1989, 1990, 1993 and 1995.

He’s the winningest coach in Hollidaysburg history.

Price’s best seasons came in 1989, when the Tigers went 12-1 and lost only to Upper St. Clair in the PIAA western regional final at Mansion Park, and in 1985, an 11-2 campaign in which Price was named the Pennsylvania Football Coaches Association coach of the year.

Dick Gooderham, an assistant coach under Price for about 10 years, remembers him as “a good man.”

“I worked under six different head coaches, and there were two things that stood out about him,” Gooderham said. “First, his demeanor. He was always very calm. He never got worked up, and I think that carried over to the players.

“Second, he was a perfectionist,” Gooderham said. “He would take away what other teams wanted to do. He studied all of our opponents and, even though we had a big playbook, he picked out a few plays we could run against them. He never put our players in a situation where they couldn’t succeed. He always had a good staff that worked well together.”

Keith Watson, who quarterbacked the Tigers’ first district title team in 1985, called playing for Price “an honor.”

“He was always a classy coach, a gentleman’s gentleman,” Watson said. “He was a fantastic coach and a great leader of young men. I had the greatest amount of respect for him.”

Watson later played at Juniata College and now teaches and coaches golf at Glen Mills School. He fondly remembers the 1985 Tigers.

“We played Indiana in the championship game at Point Stadium,” Watson said. “We had lost to them earlier, but Coach Price put in a few new wrinkles, and we were able to win.”

Tom Sell played wide receiver for the Tigers in 1983-84 and dated and later married Price’s daughter, April Jo.

“We had some tough teams back then, and we probably had about 90 kids on the team,” Sell said. “For me, he was always fair. It didn’t matter if you were the best or worst, he treated everyone the same.”

Bob Gildea, now Hollidaysburg Area School District superintendent, worked with Price and had a lot of respect for his colleague.

“When I think of Harold Price, I think of guys like Homer DeLattre and Tommy Irwin,” Gildea said. “They’re the type of coach kids need, particularly today.

“Harold was humble, a man of principle and a role model,” Gildea added.

Price also taught and coached at Williamsburg High School, Windber Area High School, Dickinson College and Lehigh University. While Price was an assistant coach, in 1977, Lehigh won the Division II national championship.

Price went 25-27 in six seasons at Williamsburg and 31-16-3 in five at Windber for a career total of 203-99-8.

He was inducted into the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 and also was a member of the Pennsylvania Football Coaches Hall of Fame and the Bedford County Hall of Fame.

Born in Everett, Price graduated from Everett-Southern High School in 1954 and Lock Haven State College in 1958.

He is survived by his wife, Regina, daughters Ronna Lee (Les C.) Stover, April Jo (Tom) Sell and son Michael K. Price.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and from 10 until the 11 a.m. funeral service on Saturday at The Good Funeral Home Inc., Alto-Reste Park.