STM hires Price to replace Mennig

By Aaron Bennett |, Matt Wettersten |

Published 05/21 2014 02:16PM

Updated 05/21 2014 10:43PM

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Former Illinois assistant coach Jay Price has been hired as the new girls basketball coach at St. Thomas More.  Price replaces Chris Mennig, who parted ways with the school while under a financial investigation by the FBI and IRS.  Price coached at Illinois under Bruce Weber for nine seasons.

"To be able to combine living in a place we love with doing a great job I love, and then getting to coach, it was like winning the lottery," Price said.  "It was really a nice day."

Former coach Chris Mennig had "no comment" on the hiring of Price, but Price had nothing but positive words to say about the program Mennig has built.

"I have a lot of respect for Chris," said Price.  "What Chris has done with that program has been absolutely amazing - a state runner-up, a state champion - he's got that thing rolling the right way.  They do things right out there.  The girls are going to know how to play, they know how to win, and they know how to be competitive - so I'm going to try to build on what Chris has done there.  I'm not going to try to reinvent the wheel.  I'm just going to try to continue the success that they have had."

Price will inherit an STM team coming off a Class 2A state championship, and he expects to meet with his players for the first time on Thursday.  Leading scorer and All-American candidate Tori McCoy will return to the Sabers, according to her father Timothy.

"We are not leaving The High School of Saint Thomas More," McCoy said.  "We chose STM because we felt the school would have better success at developing them for their college years and even further into the future.  I understand that with the new coach Jay Price we are getting an experienced coach who is very knowledgeable about the game.  I am sure that he will be exceptional in continuing the legacy that coach Mennig and the family of STM built.  We welcome him with open arms."

Former coach Chris Mennig, who was ousted last month shed some light on his situation and what's in store for him moving forward.

"At this time I would like to personally acknowledge and thank former principal Tim Millage & Athletic Director Dan Hennessey for allowing me the opportunity nine years ago to embark on this journey at STM.  It is with great sadness that I am writing you all as it appears that my days on the St. Thomas More sideline have truly come to an end.  I felt we had just gotten our ” train to a full head of steam” & now it will be going down a new set of tracks.  Kevin Sullivan of my staff said  it best, “this wasn’t your job – it was your hobby, your love”.  Anyone that has a hobby they love taken away from them is going to be emotionally hurt, and that is where I stand at this present juncture."


"Anyone that has ever stood on a sideline always hopes that the program is in better place from the start of their time to the conclusion.  I am very proud of the success through the years that this program has accomplished & will always look back on it with great fondness."


"To the present players at STM, remember my words “these are your memories” – you control your actions on the court, no one else.  Continue to make the most of your memories and build on what you have already created for you and your families.  To the parents & C-U community that supported me I can’t thank you enough.  For the first time in my career I was able to call a town ‘home’ and it was because of the embrace of the Saber Nation and the halls within St. Thomas More that I chose to make this my home."


"I have been on a sideline for 22 straight years, ever since I was a sophomore in college.  We’ll see if my phone rings, but I feel this God’s way of telling me to take a break and smell the roses a little bit.  It was a good run that ended with greatness.  I’m sure that I will find my way back on to a basketball sideline again someday, but until that time I think I’m going to spend my winter working on my ‘short game’ for the first time."

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