By Macy Jenkins

ELK GROVE (CBS13) – Beloved high school basketball coach Larry Price passed away earlier this week. But he leaves behind a roster of players whose lives he touched for the better.

“He was the one that kept all of us going,” said Rylie Hardin, a sophomore on the varsity girls’ basketball team at Elk Grove High School. “No one could ever replace him.”

The 61-year-old was the head coach of the Elk Grove High School Lady Herd basketball team. He passed away Monday after going into cardiac arrest.

Price was well known in the Elk Grove community and had a hand in shaping the lives of dozens of young women on and off the court.

“It was hard to please him, but when you did please him, it was the best feeling,” Hardin said.

Hardin remembers Price as a mentor and guiding force in her life.

“We just talked about basketball, the game, life,” she said. “We just talked about everything, and it was like the best.”

Associate coach David Crawford started at Elk Grove High School three years ago, around the same time as Price.

“When you played for Larry, you played for Larry for life,” he said. “He was magnificent to work for. He taught me things I didn’t know.”

A highlight for Crawford was making it to the Northern California Championship in 2016.

“No one believed we could do it,” he told CBS 13. “Larry drove the girls so we could do that and we wound up winning that game.”

The last time the team saw Price was after their playoff loss to Granite Bay earlier this year.

“We didn’t play as well as he expected, but he was very upbeat,” Crawford explained. “And he told the girls to get ready for next year.”

Price battled leukemia twice and caught pneumonia last year. But after taking a summer off, he returned to the court ready for more.

“And he was the same old Larry,” Crawford said. “Only difference, he was in a scooter rather than walking.”

Now, Hardin has to face next season without the best coach she’s ever known.

“It’s just; I wish he was back,” she said.

Price will be honored at Golden 1 Center Monday night during the Kings game. The entire girls’ varsity basketball team plans to attend. Price’s funeral is set for March 27.

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