Off the Gridiron: Madisonville father, son bonded by football

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MADISONVILLE, Ky. (WEHT) – As head coach of Madisonville North Hopkins, Chris Price Sr. strives to be a father-figure to all of his players.

But those paternal values are a little more literal with one Maroons player.

“I brought in a new defensive coordinator to replace Jay Burgett,” said Price Sr. “He comes in and says, ‘Coach, I really like that kid with the dreads. The linebacker, I really like him.’ I said, ‘Yeah, you probably don’t know, but that’s my son.”

That “kid with the dreads” is Chris Price Jr., a senior linebacker and running back for the Maroons that is poised for a breakout year.

But having his father on the sidelines is nothing new. Price Sr. has coached his son since he was in first grade. And he’s been a longtime assistant at Madisonville. But this year will be his first year as head coach.

“I just view him as a regular coach,” Price Jr. said. “I treat him with the same amount of courtesy that I treat every other coach.”

“Greatest part is just getting to see him grow into the man that I always expected him to be,” Price Sr. said. “It’s kind of surreal because he’s a senior. And I know next year he’ll be out in the world trying to figure things out for himself. I’m happy that I get a chance to have more time with him. Getting to be on the field with him, being able to share these moments are things that I know we’ll never forget.”

Having your dad as the head coach can be a blessing and a curse. Price Sr. has to tread a fine line between being a father and being a coach.

“I’m pretty tough as a dad anyways,” Price Sr. “I’m pretty tough as a dad, and he knows my expectations. I think he sometimes is harder on himself than I am on him. I try not to add anymore burden to him.”

“He is harder on me than most people because he knows what I’m capable of,” Price Jr. said.

Coach Price might have his own bloodline on the field every day, but that doesn’t keep him from treating the entire Maroon roster like family.

“Coach C.P. is going to make everybody give them his all. Not just his son. He’s hard on everybody, and he just wants everybody to be great. He shows love all around the field.”

The last year and a half of the pandemic has taught us all valuable lessons. For the Price family, it’s taught them to savor every moment with those you love.

“I was not a fan of 2020,” Price Sr. said. “Between COVID and all of those things, that just made me realize just how important family is. How important it is to grab ahold of kids you love, and your wife and kids, and just let them know how much you care about them and love them. So, I’m enjoying every moment. Good, bad and ugly, I enjoy every bit of it.”

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