Former Kansas baseball standout Ritchie Price enters his eighth season as an assistant coach with the Jayhawks and handles the team’s offense, works with the infielders, manages recruiting duties and coaches third base during games.
A former head coach at South Dakota State, Price was hired at Kansas on July 1, 2011.
Price has earned his keep by guiding the Jayhawk defense to new ranks, posting fielding percentages of .970 or better in five of the last seven seasons, including the school’s best mark (.977) in 2012.
With his own name plastered all over the Kansas baseball record book in almost every offensive category, Price mimicked his offensive prowess by instilling the same fiery attitude he played with into the Jayhawk hitters.
Two thousand and eighteen saw a squad hit 46 home runs – the best single-season mark in Price’s tenure and the most since 2009. Those bombs generated 21 percent of the team’s run output and 27 percent of the squad’s extra-base hits. Seventeenth-round draft pick Devin Foyle highlighted the offensive prowess of 2018 with a team-high 10 home runs – a number that hadn’t been reached since 2013 – as well as 68 hits, 17 doubles and a .330 batting average.
In 2016, Price guided catcher Michael Tinsley to a .377 batting average on his way to a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection. Tinsley recorded a team-best 80 hits and 42 RBIs, while only striking out 18 times in 212 at bats.
All-Big 12 First Team honoree Connor McKay (.346) and All-Big 12 Second Team award winner Tinsley (.337) had that same attitude in 2015. The duo led the squad offensively, driving in 23.7 percent of the team’s runs and accounting for 33 percent of its extra-base hits.
The 2014 team finished with a .283 team batting average, which included a .287 clip during a nine-game winning streak to close out conference play when KU outscored its opponents 59-28 to propel itself into the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in school history.
His coaching efforts proved rewarding with the emergence of sophomore second baseman Colby Wright into an All-Big 12 Second Team player and a major player in KU’s 2014 postseason run. Having just made one start in 2013 with nine at bats, Wright finished the 2014 campaign third on the squad with a .314 batting average, .415 slugging percentage and a .974 fielding percentage.
As a recruiter, Price helped sign three of the top-six prep players in the state of Kansas including the No. 1 and No. 2 catchers and the No. 2 pitcher by Perfect Game. He also helped sign two of the top-five prep players in the state of Nevada, highlighted by the No. 1 left-handed pitcher and the No. 6 overall player.
Price spent three seasons as the head coach at South Dakota State, where he helped build a new Division I program into a winner. In his time at SDSU, Price led the Jackrabbits to a 102-71 overall record with signature wins over established programs in Arkansas, Minnesota, Iowa and Creighton. He helped SDSU appear in the Summit League Championship game three-straight years, falling to Oral Roberts each time.
Price was the youngest head coach at the Division I level, but that didn’t stop him from building a successful program.
Price’s 2011 team became the first team in Summit League history, outside of Oral Roberts, to record 20 league victories. The Jackrabbits finished 15th in the country in team batting average (.315), 20th in runs per game (6.9) and had seven starters finish with batting averages above .300.
In 2010, Price’s team won the Summit League regular-season title and recorded a 39-21 overall record, which helped him earn the league’s Coach of the Year award. SDSU finished fourth in the country in runs per game (9.67) and fifth in batting average (.350). In his first full season as a head coach, Price’s team finished 17-10 in conference play, placing third in the Summit League standings.
Price also helped develop professional talent in his time at SDSU. Following the 2011 season, senior right-handed pitcher Blake Treinen was selected in the seventh round of the MLB Amateur Draft by the Oakland Athletics. This marked the third season in a row that one of Price’s players was drafted.
The San Luis-Obispo, California, native was a four-year starter at shortstop for his father, head coach Ritch Price, at the University of Kansas, where he eclipsed 24 school records and was named the top shortstop in the Big 12 in 2004 by Baseball America. He served as the team’s captain in 2005 and 2006, helping lead KU to the program’s first Big 12 Championship in 2006.
Price finished his collegiate career with a .305 batting average, with five homers, 25 stolen bases, 312 hits and 204 runs scored. He is still the school’s career record-holder in games played (255), at bats (1,022), runs (204) and hits (312).
Following his senior season, Price was selected by the New York Mets in the 18th round of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. He earned a master’s degree in health, physical education, and recreation from South Dakota State in 2009.
He and his son, Ryan, reside in Lawrence.
|THE PRICE FILE|
|Alma Mater||Kansas, 2007|
|South Dakota State (HC)||2008-11|
|By the Numbers|
|Hold's KU record for hits||312|
|Games played at Kansas||255|
|Years as youngest head coach in Division I||3|