Price brings fresh face to volleyball

Their offices are divided by a wall, but as fellow head coaches they are united by a common goal: to help Eastern athletics succeed.

Kate Price, the first-year head coach of the Eastern volleyball team, shares a wall with Kim Schuette, the Eastern softball head coach. Together, they learn from each other. As a new head coach, Price has learned a lot of things from Schuette.

“The compliance side of coaching is something I’ve had to get used to as a head coach,” Price said. “Kim (Schuette) has helped me a lot.”

Three years removed from being on the 2007 Penn State volleyball team that won a national championship, Price is young and a head coach. Schuette knows what it is like to be in Price’s situation.

“I was a young head coach just like (Price),” Schuette said. “But age doesn’t matter as a head coach, as long as you communicate.”

Ever since becoming office neighbors, Price and Schuette have done a lot of communicating. When needed, Price will walk a few steps to the doorway of Schuette’s office and ask her any questions she has about head coaching.

Even when it is not an answer Price or Schuette is seeking from the other, Schuette said it is always nice to have another head coach to vent to.

Price will admit that she is open and talkative, especially with her players. During practices, the first-year head coach said she is high strung when in comes to giving feedback to the team.

Regardless of her age or head coaching experience, Price’s players trust her judgment, having played almost every position on the court as a Nittany Lion.

“She knows how to motivate us,” senior outside hitter Alex Zwettler said. “She came from a really good school like Penn State, so we know what she says is true.”

Three years ago, Price said her head coach, Russ Rose, was a great mentor for her. Along with Schuette next door, Rose is just a call away. Price said she talks to him at least once a week.

Even though she might still have questions, Price said she has not had trouble adjusting to being a head coach, despite the suddenness of former head coach Alan Segal’s resignation Jan. 20.

“It came easily to me,” Price said. “After (Segal) resigned, the athletic department asked me to take over the team for the spring season.”

Price took the reigns in the spring. She never had to give them up. After assuming the interim head coach job March 1, she took hold of the program, although senior outside hitter Alex Zwettler said Price was basically the head coach last year.

“She was coaching a lot during games and was doing a lot during practice,” Zwettler said.

June 3, Price announced that she would keep her coaching staff within the Penn State family, hiring Ryan Sweitzer as an assistant coach.

“I had a lot of help from Penn State,” Price said. “They told me Ryan was done playing professionally and that he was looking for a job.”

Along with hiring an assistant coach, Price said she was pleased wither her recruits, including Mattoon native Reynae Hutchinson. According to Price, Hutchinson wanted to play for her more than anything, so the resignation was not as big of a deal.

However, one recruit ended up going to a two-year school instead of Eastern, but Price was satisfied with her class.

The transition from Segal to Price was a good one, according to Zwettler, who was happy to hear that the former Nittany Lion would be the head coach.

“It’s a great leap forward (for the program),” Zwettler said.

Zwettler said Price is a great motivator; in fact, she said there are more expectations for the volleyball team now that they know Price is fully dedicated to the team.

Now that she is a card-carrying member of the small group of Eastern head coaches, she has the team she wants and will wait in anticipation for Sept. 3, when she will get her first shot on the big stage.

The Panthers will play in the Harvard Invitational against Bryant Sept. 3. After the first serve of the match, Price’s career from the bench will have officially begun.

Kate Price

Played on ’07 Penn State national championship volleyball team

Penn State head coach Russ Rose is her mentor

Graduated from Penn State in 2008

Big Ten “Freshman of the Year” at Penn State

Alex McNamee can be reached at 581-7944 or

[email protected]