It is rare for college coaches to step into high school. For Hannah Price, however, this is the right move at the right time.
After four years as an assistant softball coach at Southwestern Mississippi Community College, Price is joining North Pike as a softball assistant and high school health teacher. This move will allow Price to spend more time with family and start a new career in the classroom.
“With the kind of people who want to start a family with me and settle down a little bit… I think it all worked out for itself,” Price said. “I prayed about it – every decision I made, I tried to have peace about it – and God opened the door and I’m trying to step through it.”
North Pike began its search to replace popular assistant Jordan Adams shortly after his season ended in mid-May. Price was already a familiar face within head coach Sonya Wallace’s program because he coached many Jaguar pitchers outside of school. The process went through quickly and was completed in early June.
“I really didn’t expect it to happen. … The pieces just kind of fell into place,” Wallace said. “We’re excited to have her here. I know our pitchers – a couple of my girls are already going to her anyway, so she’ll be able to be there every day or work with them, which would be a big plus for those girls.
Price (then named Hannah Mock) was a star during her playing days at Parklane Academy and William Carey University. The AIS Pitcher earned MAIS Player of the Year honors with the Pioneers and was twice a NAIA All-American honoree for the Crusaders. She won 77 games and posted a 1.43 ERA in her college career, striking out 560 batters and allowing a .191 opposing average.
SMCC head coach Shea Johnson raged about the Bears’ pitching coach after her graduation. The program has posted winning seasons in each of the past four years, including a school-record 29 wins in 2019 and a 14-0 start this spring. Price strength and positivity were consistent.
“She brings excitement with her. It’s great,” Johnson said. “She’s a great Christian young woman, and she’s a light to have fun around. That’s something she’ll always have. ”
Junior college softball is definitely a grind for coaches. With long bus rides and midweek doubleheaders throughout the season, recruiting is a year-round adventure. Mississippi private schools play softball in the fall, public schools play in the spring, and travel teams rule the summer. Johnson said he has been home for a total of six days in the past four weeks. And if they weren’t constantly on the road, they would fall behind other MACCC programs.
Pryce, who earned her elementary education degree from William Carey, always had dreams of teaching. Her mother has long been a teacher and inspiration. Blair E. Jackson of Jackson. Pryce said the school trip was a big influence to help and play with the children at Batson Children’s Hospital. She started most of the North Pike as a primary teacher before joining the SMCC staff.
“I totally thought, ‘Hey, I’m going to be a teacher,'” Price said. “This is what I do. I have been called to do this. ”
As her office shifts across the road at the summit, Price knows that teaching high schools is a different challenge but she believes it can create an attractive classroom environment. And she still has softball, joining the Jaguars program late in the playoffs.
Rising sophomore Ann Ellis Duncan and senior Natalie Deer have both worked with Price outside of school, but he was rarely able to help with the season due to SMCC’s hectic schedule. Pryce worked with pitchers and catchers for the first time on Tuesday and is thrilled to see how the two improve their game while working on the North Pike 2023 season.
“I’ve built a really good relationship with them and found out how they tick and try to help them get better,” Price said. “And then being able to train those girls every day for one or two weeks is incredible. Especially because they already believe in the process I’m trying to create.”
Belief in the price in the process has led to success at each station and there is no reason why North Pike should be any different.