It's been another grand year for Chattanooga State athletics, capped by the softball team winning its long-chased national championship that is the first in school history in any sport.
While Beth Keylon-Randolph's Lady Tigers notched another 60-win season, baseball again was very strong under Greg Dennis.
And the school's other head coach, the guy who coaches two teams -- well, he will be helping the United States junior national basketball team get ready for its international competition.
Jay Price was selected as one of four "court coaches" to help Florida's Billy Donovan and his two high-profile assistants -- Gonzaga's Mark Few and Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart -- prepare the under-18 men's team Tuesday through Thursday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Donovan, Few and Smart were USA Basketball court coaches in the past.
One of the other court coaches is new South Carolina coach Frank Martin, who worked wonders the last five years at Kansas State. The other two are Dannton Jackson of Xavier of Louisiana and 17-year North Carolina Wesleyan coach John Thompson, a UNC Greensboro player in the early 1980s.
The coaches were picked by the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee.
"It's an unbelievable honor that I will cherish for the rest of my life," said Price, who was nominated by NJCAA Region VII men's director Bobby Hudson of Volunteer State.
"I don't know exactly the selection process, but they get one NAIA coach, one juco, one from [NCAA] Division I and one from Division II," Price said.
The court coaches won't be needed once the 24 players are pared to the final group of 12 going to the FIBA Americas U18 Championship set for June 16-20 in Brazil, but they will have played a vital part in continuing a tradition of excellence. The United States is 38-2 in this biennial competition, going back to 1990, and has five gold medals. That includes the most recent 2010 team.
"If you go back through the list of guys who played at this level before, most of them ended up in the NBA," Price said.
Price, a former Brainerd High School all-state player who ran the point at Tennessee for three years and then played professionally for four years in such places as Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, got his coaching start at Notre Dame and took over the Chattanooga State men's program eight years ago.
He added the Chattanooga State women four years later and made college history by having both teams simultaneously in national tournaments in Kansas last year.
"That was the key to my selection, I'm sure," Price said Friday. "I'm sure that's why Bobby nominated me, and that's how other people knew who I was."
He remains close to former UT backcourt mate Allan Houston, who played on an Olympic team and went through the national selection and training process, and he called Wade Houston -- Allan's father and their Volunteers coach -- Thursday night about his gig this week.
"As excited as I am, I think Coach Houston was probably more excited," Price said.
Chattanooga State athletic director Steve Jaecks was thrilled as well.
"I think Coach Price deserves to be there, and we're happy that he can represent Chattanooga State in a national venue," Jaecks said.
He then laughed and added, "Of course we're also hoping that it can turn into a good little recruiting trip."
Price downplayed that possibility but said, "It's a resume builder, and it's always good to have the Chattanooga State name in a national setting in any positive manner. I'm looking forward to meeting all these people and learning from them. You never know where it could lead."
Geography also is part of his excitement.
"Being from Chattanooga and getting an opportunity to go to Colorado, I've always heard how beautiful it is," he said. "I'm not one who's easily awe-struck and takes a lot of pictures, but I'll be taking pictures this week."