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During Duane Price’s six seasons on the East Carolina staff, his units were consistently defined by their athleticism, intensity, delivery of big plays and fundamental execution.
He initially joined the Pirates’ program as defensive tackles coach on July 30, 2010 - just a week prior to the start of fall camp - and worked alongside then-ends coach Marc Yellock to start a major rebuilding process on a line that lost all four starters, including two who were selected in the NFL Draft.
Head coach Ruffin McNeill’s decision to change defensive schemes from a 4-3 to a 3-4 facilitated Price’s move to the outside linebacking position before the start of spring drills in March, 2011 and it was his leadership of that particular unit where the Texas native turned many heads.
During his first year directing the OLBs, Price tutored Cliff Perryman and Marke Powell to 48 and 40-tackle campaigns, the eighth and ninth-best marks on the team, respectively. His unit also played a key role in a defensive turnaround that featured a 102.5 yards-per-game improvement from the previous season.
In 2012, prized pupil Derrell Johnson made the most out of his move from the end position with an All-Conference USA performance that included team bests in sacks (7.0), tackles for lost yardage (11.0) and quarterback pressures (eight). Johnson, Maurice Falls and newcomers Gabriel Woullard and Montese Overton accounted for over half (14) of the squad’s 26 sacks, applying plenty of pressure from the outside.
Price challenged his unit to an encore performance a year later in 2013 and it delivered. Johnson, who topped the Pirates in tackles (80), TFLs (14.0), sacks (8.0) and quarterback hurries (9), joined Woullard on the all-conference squad, while Overton produced a stellar sophomore campaign that included 10.5 stops for lost yardage and six sacks. Additionally, Price’s development of rookie Dayon Pratt resulted in the latter’s selection to the C-USA All-Freshman team.
Overton, who stood second among all defenders with 11.5 TFLs and third with 68 overall stops, anchored Price’s corps in 2014 as the Pirates ranked 11th nationally against the rush by allowing just 111.8 yards per game. On the passing end, Overton and senior Maurice Falls combined for a unit-high nine quarterback pressures that helped generate 14 interceptions and 49 breakups.
During the 2015 campaign, Overton again spearheaded Price’s unit with 70 tackles and team-bests in TFLs (10.0), sacks (7.5) and batted passes (7) to earn All-American Athletic Conference honors. He ranked second in the AAC and among the Top 45 nationally in sacks with 0.63 per contest, which was bolstered by a single-game school record 4.0 at SMU on Oct. 3.
In all, Price’s tutelage of Overton generated a combined 166 “lost yards” from 2013 to 2015 and 35.5 career TFLs. He also collected at least one tackle in 45 of 46 games.
Prior to his appointment at ECU, the Texas Tech letterman and former staff assistant helped the Red Raiders to four bowl appearances as a player and coach during a six-year span which began in 1994 when he arrived on the Lubbock campus as a defensive back.
Before being retained by then-newly-appointed coach Tommy Tuberville and handling the secondary during 2010 spring drills, Price contributed to then-coordinator McNeill’s efforts in 2009 while working with tackles as a defensive graduate assistant.
He returned to his alma mater in March, 2009 after serving as a defensive and special teams staff assistant at Conference USA member Tulane during the 2008 campaign. Before his stay in New Orleans, Price spent six seasons as an assistant football coach at A&M Consolidated High School in College Station, Texas, where he helped lead the team to a pair of state quarterfinal campaigns in 2002 and 2005.
Price, 40, was a four-year letterwinner at Texas Tech in both football and baseball.
On the gridiron, Price was a member of the secondary during trips to the Cotton, Copper and Alamo Bowls, and helped the Red Raiders to a Southwest Conference title in 1994. He starred as a centerfielder for Tech during the spring and was a 20th-round selection of the Cincinnati Reds in 1998 before spending two years in their minor league system.
A native of College Station, Price earned a bachelor’s of science degree in exercise and sport science from Texas Tech in 1999 and followed with a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies in 2003.
He and his wife, Becca, have one son, Chilton (13).