Yucaipa hires Price as head football coach

The Yucaipa-Calimesa Unified School District approved the hire of former Granite Hills head football coach Justin Price to coach the Yucaipa High School football team Tuesday.

Price, who led Granite Hills to a school-record six victories this past season, interviewed for the job Friday and was offered the job Monday, which he accepted in a heartbeat.

“I’m very excited about continuing the tradition at Yucaipa High School,” said Price, who was 8-12 in two seasons with the Cougars. “With all the new high schools in California, its rare to find a one-high school town like Yucaipa has. I’m looking forward to working with the players, the parents and the whole community.”

Price was a late-comer to the job, which has been advertised since John Hallenbeck was removed in early February. In fact, he drove down to Yucaipa the day before the ad for the job closed after receiving a layoff notice from his special ed teaching job at Granite Hills.

“I was reading blogs on the internet and saw that the Yucaipa job was still open,” Price said. “I thought it was a great opportunity, so I drove down there, handed them my resume and interviewed this past Friday. I felt that there wasn’t much importance being placed on keeping me around (at Granite Hills) and wanted to go somewhere where the high school football coach was valued.”

Yucaipa High School also had a job opening for a special education teacher, which is what Price teaches. With that solved, it was a pretty easy decision for Yucaipa athletic director Mark Anderson.

“I like the attitude and the presence that Justin brings,” Anderson said. “He’s a good young coach who is eager to come in and be part of this community. I thought he was the right fit right away and once I knew that we had a teaching job open for him, it was an easy decision.”

Price and the Thunderbirds, who went 5-5 this past season to finish fifth in the Citrus Belt League after three consecutive playoff appearances, will start spring practice next month.