Utah sports fans have to be saddened at the loss of two fine coaches from the collegiate ranks this week. Although they left for different reasons, their departures emphasized once again the temporary and uncertain nature of coaching.

Mike Price, head football coach at Weber State College for the past eight years, as well as athletic director, took a step up to become head coach at Washington State University, a bigger and athletically more prestigious school where he once played football.Lynn Archibald, head basketball coach at the University of Utah for six years, was fired with one year left on his contract.

Being fired carries with it negative overtones. But in the coaching profession that may have nothing to do with the character of the coach, or even his ability. The coach can't run, throw or shoot the ball; the players are the ones who have to perform. But if their record is not as dazzling as some hope, it is the coach who gets the blame.

Besides, if Tom Landry can get fired, anybody can. Landry was a highly successful coach for years with the National Football League Dallas Cowboys, almost a living legend. Yet he was let go recently when the team changed hands

In Archibald's case, while his won-lost record was not exceptional, he was in every sense a gentleman, an excellent personal example to the young athletes under his charge. In the long run, that counts for more than sports victories.

Both Price and Archibald are to be commended for their service to collegiate athletics. Both have what the sports fraternity calls "class." We wish them success in their future endeavors in a highly competitive and uncertain profession.