Price resigns to return to Kansas


South Dakota State University head baseball coach Ritchie Price announced Thursday that he has resigned to return to his alma mater, Kansas University, as an assistant coach.

“I am grateful for the opportunity that I have had here at South Dakota State,” said Price. “It is a difficult time for me having to leave the players I have grown to have so much respect for. They gave me a chance at a young age and listened and bought into what our staff was trying to do. Along the way, we accomplished some great things and there is no doubt South Dakota State Baseball is in as high a place as it has ever been. That can be attributed to the players’ work ethic, mentality and toughness. They deserve all the credit for where this program is.”

After serving one season as a graduate assistant, Price became the youngest head coach in Division I baseball when he took over the Jackrabbit program at age 24 in the summer of 2008. In three seasons as head coach of the Jackrabbits, Price guided SDSU to berths in the Summit League championship each year, compiling a 102-71 overall record (.590 winning percentage), including a 56-27 record in league play.

SDSU overcame a slow start in his first season to finish the 2009 campaign with a 26-30 record, including a 17-10 mark in The Summit League. The Jackrabbits took a step forward in 2010, sharing the league regular season title and earning the top seed in the Summit League postseason tournament with a 19-9 mark in league play. Overall, the Jackrabbits tied the school single-season record for wins with 39, finishing the season 39-21.

In 2011, SDSU continued its winning ways, posting a 37-20 overall record, including a 20-8 record within The Summit League to finish second in the standings.

During his tenure in the Jackrabbit dugout, SDSU players earned all-Summit League recognition 18 times, including All-America relief pitcher Trever Vermeulen. In addition, pitchers Caleb Thielbar and Blake Treinen were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.

SDSU also set numerous records in team hitting and fielding categories during his three seasons.

At Kansas, Price will return to a program where he excelled as a player from 2003-06, and work with the team’s offense, infielders, handle recruiting duties and also be the team’s third base coach under his father, Ritch Price. A four-time all-Big 12 Conference shortstop, the younger Price set 24 school records, including Jayhawk career marks for games played (255), at bats (1,022), hits (312), runs scored (204), sacrifices (35) and hit by pitches (53). He helped lead Kansas to a Big 12 Conference championship in 2006 and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Price was an 18th-round draft pick of the New York Mets and played in the minor leagues one full season before pursuing a college coaching career.

Courtesy of SDSU Athletics. Check back with The Collegian Friday for more updates.