PULLMAN, Wash. -- The truth of some information from several
employees of a topless bar that cost former Alabama football coach
Mike Price his job is being questioned in court documents, a
newspaper reported Saturday.
The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash., conducted an extensive interview with Price and obtained court documents that indicated three employees at a Pensacola, Fla., topless bar could not agree on the events
that led to Price's firing by Alabama.
Price, back living in the Northwest, said the widely reported
rumor that he engaged in sex with two women in a Pensacola hotel
room is false.
"That never happened," Price told the newspaper. "I never
Price also disputed many of the facts in a Sports Illustrated
article about his firing, which alleged that Price purchased drinks
for and propositioned female students around Tuscaloosa, Ala., home
of the university.
"That story destroyed my reputation," Price said. "Hurt my
family. Hurt me. And it was nothing but lies. There were never
[two] women in my room. There was never a sexual encounter. There
was no adultery.
"I never broke any laws. Too much drinking led to poor
judgment, that was it," Price said.
Price, who left Washington State last winter for the Alabama
job, has filed a $20 million libel lawsuit against the magazine's
parent company and writer Don Yaeger.
Price was fired on May 3, 2003, and said he has been treated for
depression since. "I got professional help because of the guilt
feeling that I had to deal with every day," Price said. "I now
know what depression is."
"I have never been depressed one day of my life. And then this
happened," he said.
A federal judge in Birmingham, Ala., dismissed a $20 million
wrongful-termination lawsuit Price filed against the University of
Price was in Pensacola last April 16 to play in a golf
tournament. He visited three bars that night with assistant coach
Casey Dunn, and was in a cab at midnight when the driver suggested
they go to Arety's, a topless dance bar, Price said.
There is a dispute over whether Price was in the same bar
earlier in the day. He contends he was not; Sports Illustrated
reported he was.
In his deposition, Price was repeatedly asked about his actions
at Arety's by Time Inc. attorney Gary Huckaby.
Price said he did not recall paying for any dancing by Lori
(Destiny) Boudreaux or Jennifer Eaton.
"I don't know who Jennifer and Destiny are," Price said in the
Tracy Brigalia, a waitress at Arety's, told Price's lawyer,
Stephen Heninger of Birmingham, Ala., that the coach did not
proposition her or come on to her physically. Eaton, who sat at a
table with Price, corroborated that statement.
"When I was there, he was a gentleman," Eaton told Heninger.
After an hour and a half at Arety's, Price left and climbed into
a cab. When he turned in the cab, Brigalia, but not Dunn, was also
in the cab.
Price said he does not remember the cab ride back to his hotel,
or how Brigalia ended up in his room.
"I remember walking in the lobby. I don't remember the elevator
ride up, walk down the hall, putting the key in the door," Price
said in his deposition.
"All I remember is sitting on the bed and putting my head
down," he said, adding he was unsure if Brigalia was in the room
at that point.
Price said he woke up in the same clothes he wore the night
Brigalia told Heninger in a taped interview that she was the
only woman in the hotel room with Price. She said she never was
interviewed by Sports Illustrated about what happened in the room.
Eaton, another dancer at Arety's, was the other woman who
initially claimed she was in Price's room. She has since told
Heninger she fabricated the story.
"Did you go back to the room with Coach Price that night?"
Heninger asked her in a taped interview.
"No, I did not," Eaton replied.
Eaton said that on May 1, she went to Arety's to cash a check.
When she arrived reporters were at the club waiting to talk to her.
She said she was told by club owner Arety Kapetanis that the
reporters thought she was in the hotel room with Price.
Eaton said she was harassed by reporters throughout the day.
"I got tired of being harassed," she said. "So I told them,
'OK fine, I was there, the man was nice, he was a gentleman,
nothing happened.' "
But under questioning from Heninger, Eaton admitted she had
never been in the hotel in her life.
Eaton said she was "just taking what she heard from everybody
else to make it sound like a feasible story."
According to Yaeger's deposition, the writer never talked to
Brigalia, the one woman who has acknowledged she was in Price's
room. But he talked with the owner and numerous employees of
Arety's. Yaeger said he spoke with Eaton the day after his deadline
Yaeger wrote in his story that Price had "aggressive sex" with
two women. He said in his deposition that he believed one of those
women was Eaton. He also said in his deposition that he asked his
confidential source after the story was written if it was possible
that Eaton was not in the hotel room.
"... my source indicated that it might have been somebody other
than Jennifer," Yaeger said in his deposition.
Heninger said he believes Yaeger's confidential source was
Boudreaux, whom Yaeger paid $200 for an interview. Boudreaux
confirmed she received the money in her taped interview with
Heninger. But Yaeger would not reveal who his source was to
Boudreaux told Heninger that she was not present in the hotel
room with Price.
"I never told anyone I was at any hotel room with anyone,"
Boudreaux said. "I was the source that talked to the girls that
were present, that's all I did tell [SI] about knowing what
"I'm the one who told him that there was ... the two girls that
were in the room," Boudreaux said in her interview with Heninger.
Boudreaux, who became a celebrity after the story broke, said
she was the source of the information about two women and
aggressive sex in the room. She said she got her information from
Brigalia. She said Brigalia disputed Eaton's account that Eaton had
danced for Price and then fell asleep with her clothes on.
Yaeger stood by his story.
"I believe that the confidential source was in the room and I
believe that there is a pretty solid chance that Tracy Brigalia was
in the room," he said in his deposition.
Price said he continues to look for a job in college football or
the National Football League.
"I think I can still motivate and lead people,' Price told the