Ritchie Price prepares for his third season as head coach of the South Dakota State University baseball team in 2011.
The youngest head baseball coach at the Division I level, Price has compiled a 65-51 career record with the Jackrabbits, including a breakthrough 39-21 season in 2010. SDSU tied a school record for most wins in a season, shared the regular season Summit League title and earned the No. 1 seed for the Summit League Championship after becoming the first league team to win a four-game regular season series from perennial conference champion Oral Roberts. Also included in the record-tying 39 victories were a win at nationally ranked and returning College World Series qualifier Arkansas, a three-game season sweep of Big Ten Conference champion Minnesota and a win over the third-place team in the Big Ten, Iowa.
En route to their second consecutive appearance in the Summit League title series, the Jackrabbits re-wrote the record book in 2010, establishing new standards in eight different offensive categories, including batting average (.350), hits (769), runs scored (578), home runs (84) and runs batted in (549). SDSU was far from one-dimensional, however, as the Jackrabbits also set a new single-season record for fielding percentage at .972 and relief pitcher Trever Vermeulen became the first player in the Division I era to earn All-America recognition. The Jackrabbits' eight all-league honorees led The Summit League.
In 2009, Price directed a dramatic mid-season turnaround during his inaugural season with the Jackrabbits. After starting the 2009 campaign with a 5-22 overall record and 1-6 mark in Summit League play, the Jackrabbits went 19-6 over the final five weeks of the regular season to earn the third seed in the Currington Mortgage Summit League Championship.
At the league tournament, the Jackrabbits dropped their opening game to Southern Utah but came back to defeat both Centenary (La.) and Southern Utah the next day to advance to the title series, where they lost to Oral Roberts.
Overall, SDSU finished the 2009 season with a 26-30 record, including a 17-10 slate in Summit League regular season games.
Price began his association with the Jackrabbit baseball program by serving as infield and third base coach in 2008, and was elevated to interim head coach following the resignation of Reggie Christiansen in June 2008. During his tenure, two SDSU players have been drafted by Major League teams: left-handed pitcher Caleb Thielbar in the 18th round of the 2009 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers and right-handed pitcher Blake Treinen in the 23rd round of the 2010 draft by the Florida Marlins.
A native of San Luis Obispo, Calif., Price comes from a baseball family. His two brothers - Ryne and Robby - also played at the University of Kansas, where their father, Ritch, is currently the head baseball coach.
Ritchie Price also played at Kansas, setting Jayhawk career records for games played (255), at bats (1,022), hits (312), runs scored (204), sacrifices (35) and hit by pitches (53). Price's graduating class owns the most wins of any class in Kansas baseball history.
In 2006, Price helped lead the Jayhawks to a Big 12 Conterence championship, as Kansas went 4-0 to win the conference title. After earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, Price's squad went 1-2, earning a win over Hawaii in the opening game.
Price was one of the ironmen of college baseball, starting 252 consecutive games at shortstop. Although no official records are kept by the NCAA, this is most certainly among the best in college baseball history.
He was a four-time all-Big 12 selection, and was named the conference's best defensive shortstop in 2004 by Baseball America.
Following his highly successful career with the Jayhawks, Price was an 18th round draft pick of the New York Mets in Major League Baseball's first-year player draft. Not only did Price play rookie ball with the Kingsport Mets of the Appalachian League, but he also spent a week in Class A, playing for the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League.
Price graduated from Kansas in 2007 with a degree in communication studies. He received his master's degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation with an emphasis in sports pedagogy from South Dakota State in the summer of 2009.