On Nov. 29, 2013, Keith Price took a shotgun snap, faked a handoff and high-stepped into Husky Stadium’s west end zone for a 2-yard touchdown. He dropped the football, raised both hands and performed an impromptu jig inside the “O” in “WASHINGTON,” cementing a 27-17 Apple Cup win in his final home game.

His path to that point wasn’t nearly so simple.

“It’s been a great journey for Keith,” then-Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian said after the win. “I think the last five years of his life are going to shape him for the next 60 to 70 years of his life.

“He’s been through a lot. He’s been through a lot physically; he’s been through a lot emotionally. But every time, that guy shows he’s got tremendous character, and he stands tall and doesn’t waiver. He never points the finger. We’re proud that he’s our guy.”

Indeed, No. 17 went through a lot at Washington. He did so by design.

The same mindset has since kick-started his coaching career.

“Anybody can go to an established program and keep the winning tradition,” said Price, now an offensive graduate assistant on the bottom rung at Boise State. “But I feel like it says a lot when I don’t want to play with one of my best friends that I grew up with at USC or whatever school. I came to UW and I believed in the culture there. I was familiar with the culture from back in the ‘90s. I wanted to see if we could get that thing rolling and back to where it should be.”

Which is why, instead of rerouting to Oregon or Arizona State, the Compton, California, native and St. John Bosco standout signed with Washington in 2009 — months after the program endured a winless 0-12 season. In three seasons as UW’s starter, Price delivered UW’s first winning record since 2001 and just its second bowl win since 2000 — leaving with a program record 75 career touchdown passes.

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“We made history,” the fifth-year senior said on Dec. 27, 2013, after defeating BYU 31-16 in the Fight Hunger Bowl to secure a 9-4 season.

Before Chris Petersen arrived on the scene, Price helped restore a winning culture at Washington. He credits the place with growing him both as a person and a player — and providing a peek at his next career.

“When I was at UW, I was interested (in coaching), and then I saw a couple of the GAs with air mattresses. Then I reconsidered,” Price said with a laugh last week. “I was like, ‘You guys got air mattresses in the office, bro? I’m not sure that’s the life for me.’

“But just going back and forth in my head, I was like, ‘I think this is what I want to do.’ I was coaching at a junior college — LA Pierce Community College in LA — back in 2018, and I really appreciated the relationship part of things, man, and the camaraderie in the locker room. Building relationships with these young men is priceless. It just kind of comes easy to me, being able to relate to some of these guys coming from similar situations and growing up the same way that I grew up. Being able to interact and have an impact on these kids’ lives is what makes it worth it.”

After going undrafted in 2014, the 6-foot-1, 202-pound passer served stints with the Seahawks (2014), the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders (2014-15) and BC Lions (2016-17), and the San Diego Fleet and Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football. Once that league folded after eight weeks in 2019, Price opted to pursue a career in coaching.

“I always wanted to give back to the game of football. It was always a dream and always a goal to stay around the game,” he said. “In 2019, before I actually played in the Alliance I was trying to get into coaching. I had a couple opportunities and turned down some opportunities to continue my playing career. But I just didn’t want to be one of those guys that said, ‘I should have given it one more try.’

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“Once the Alliance did what it did, I was like, ‘OK, I got my last itch out. It’s time to start my new profession.’”

But starting wasn’t as simple as it sounds. While he attempted to break into college coaching, Price tutored prep quarterbacks in California — which is how he bumped into then-UW running backs coach Keith Bhonapha at a high school camp.

“I had been reaching out to (Bhonapha) for the last couple years, saying, ‘Hey, man, if anything’s open, let me know. I don’t care if I have to be the freaking janitor. Just get me in the building and I’ll figure it out from there,’” Price joked. “Shoot, I ended up getting home (from the camp) and probably a day later he called me and said, ‘Hey, I think I’ve got a spot for you. Boise State should be reaching out.’”

While Bhonapha didn’t have a spot in Seattle, he used connections at Boise State — where he served as Petersen’s running backs coach from 2009 to 2013, and is currently the associate head coach — to bring Price onboard as a recruiting assistant in 2021.

Price started at the bottom in Boise; he did so by design.

Same as in Seattle, he didn’t opt for the easy path.

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“It’s always been about getting it out the mud and starting from the ground up and getting it the only way I know how to get it. That’s to grind,” said Price, who chose coaching over a more immediately lucrative or less taxing profession. “Last year I came in as a recruiting assistant. I wasn’t even doing the football side of things. I told (head coach Andy Avalos) if anything opened up, I’m willing to jump over. I don’t care about the hours or anything like that. I’m willing to sacrifice.

“A spot opened up this offseason, and I’m (coaching) football now. It’s working your way up and being willing to dedicate those hours to something you really want in the long run.”

Oh, and about those hours: they’re unrelenting. Price currently heads to the facility around 5 a.m. and typically stays until 7 or 8 p.m. During the season, he estimates he’ll work till midnight — doing anything and everything asked of him.

“It’s whatever the coaches need, honestly,” he said. “It could be freaking going to get lunch for ‘em. It doesn’t matter. Whatever they need. It’s one of those positions where you can’t let your ego get in the way of anything. You get it out the mud.”

Price put his aspirations ahead of his ego — even when so many of his current players grew up watching him win at Washington. The now 30-year-old former quarterback said last week that “some of them can remember the games better than me, seriously. I’m like, ‘Damn, I forgot that happened.’”

Price joked last week that “I’ve taken a lot of hits.”

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He’s been through a lot — and he’s still learning.

“I’m super excited,” said Price, who has been assigned primarily to Boise State’s wide receivers. “I’m super eager to learn and see how much I can retain. I’m learning how to teach and seeing how prepared these coaches are for their meetings. Each step of the way, it’s awesome. It’s an awesome new career for me.

“I believe we have a really, really good team returning. Obviously Boise State is a respected program, one of the top Group of Five programs in the country. They’ve always done their thing the last two decades. So I’m super excited to be here, and shoot, I’m just ready to get this thing cracking.”

From the mud, or the air mattress, Price is ready to make history.

Again.

“Just enjoying this beautiful game,” he said, “it’s really what I live for and what I live to do.”