Former Jayhawks Find Success in College Baseball

Oct. 23, 2008


As the fall practice season winds down for the Kansas baseball team, several members of the Jayhawk family are going through the same rigors in other parts of the country. During the off-season three former Jayhawk players/coaches were promoted in the coaching ranks at other schools.

Former Jayhawk standout Ritchie Price, the eldest son of head coach Ritch Price, was named the head coach at South Dakota State. At age 24, Ritchie will be the youngest NCAA Division I head coach in the country next season. He played at KU from 2003-06, and holds the school’s career records for games played (255), at bats (1,022), runs scored (204) and hits (312). He was also a four-time All-Big 12 selection and was named the conference’s best defensive shortstop in 2006.

He was drafted by the New York Mets’ organization following his senior year.

“I am really proud of Ritchie and would like to compliment South Dakota State Athletic Director Fred Oien on a great hire,” Ritch Price said. “To be named the youngest Division I head coach in the country speaks volumes about Ritchie’s knowledge, enthusiasm, and passion for this great game.”

“Ritchie’s experience as a Big 12 player and professional baseball player have prepared him well for the challenges that lie ahead. I have no doubt that he will become one of the finest Division I coaches in the country.”

He takes over head coaching duties from Reggie Christiansen, a former Jayhawk assistant coach. Ritchie Price worked under Christiansen as an assistant coach during the 2008 season at SDSU.

Christiansen left SDSU to accept an assistant coaching position at Sacramento State. Christiansen, who spent the 2003-04 seasons at Kansas, will serve as the recruiting coordinator for the Hornets as well as the team’s hitting instructor.

“Reggie is one of the top young coaches in America,” KU head coach Ritch Price said of his former assistant. “I have no doubt that his work ethic and recruiting experience will make an immediate impact at Sacramento State. (Hornets Head Coach) John Smith is one of my best friends and he made a great hire. Coach Christiansen is the perfect guy to help Coach Smith become a contender for a Western Athletic Conference championship in the near future.”

Former Kansas player Mike Dudley also accepted a full-time coaching position this off-season, at Garden City Community College in Garden City, Kan. Dudley played at KU from 2004-05 and served as a student assistant coach during the 2006 season, helping the Jayhawks to their first Big 12 title. Dudley will work with the Broncbuster infielders and help out with the hitters at Garden City CC this season.

“Mike grew up in a coaching family and has a burning desire to be a college coach,” Price said. “This is a great stepping stone for Coach Dudley and will allow him to chase his dream of one day running his own college program. I have no doubts that with Mike’s enthusiasm and energy he will be a very successful college baseball coach.”