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When Price Gets the Call, He Accepts

Volleyball: With future uncertain, Northridge men's coach takes women's job at Bakersfield.

July 26, 1997|MIKE BRESNAHAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

NORTHRIDGE — Shortly after he received a phone call from Alaska, John Price's career moved from Northridge to Bakersfield.

Price, former men's volleyball coach at Cal State Northridge, accepted an offer to become the women's volleyball coach at Cal State Bakersfield on Friday.

Price received news of his hiring from Bakersfield Athletic Director Rudy Carvajal, who called while vacationing in Alaska. In 12 years with the Northridge men's team, Price had a record of 194-158. His 1993 team lost in the NCAA final to UCLA.

Price was effectively left without a job when the Northridge men's volleyball program was eliminated along with baseball, men's soccer and swimming on June 11 for budget and gender-equity reasons.

Despite recent efforts to revive the program for a year, Price opted for long-term job security.

"A big part of my decision was the uncertainty at Northridge," Price said. "They haven't reinstated the program and even if they do, it would probably only be for a year."

His replacement at Northridge, if the volleyball team is resurrected, likely will be seven-year assistant Jeff Campbell.

Price said he recommended Campbell to Northridge Athletic Director Paul Bubb for the vacancy, should it need to be filled.

"If the program is reinstated, I feel confident with where we would go," said Bubb, who declined to reveal exact plans for a replacement.

"I feel [Price] has done a great job for us, developed a solid program and brought great coaches into the program. I feel very comfortable with them."

Price was approached earlier this week about an international coaching position with the Croatian junior national team but chose Bakersfield and, as a result, has a busy month ahead of him.

The Roadrunners, who compete in NCAA Division II, start the season by playing host to a five-team tournament Aug. 29 and 30.

"I've got four weeks to find a place to live, get packed, move, unpack, talk to the team and talk with recruits," Price said. "It's going to be kind of hectic. But Bakersfield has a chance to compete for a national championship right away."

The Roadrunners have reached the NCAA Division II quarterfinals six of the past seven years and won the national title in 1989.

Price replaces Carl Ferreira, who left to accept the coaching spot at Idaho.

Price guided the Matadors to seven consecutive playoff appearances before last season, when they finished 14-13 and did not make the playoffs.

The news did sit well with Northridge's Chad Strickland, a two-time All-American who will be a senior.

"I hoped that he wouldn't leave, but the man has got to live," Strickland said. "I'm [upset] that it's taken this long to figure out what's going on, that we have to lose a coach like this."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

John Price at CS Northridge

Men's Volleyball Coaching Record

*--*

Year W L NCAA Rank 1986 14 17 12th 1987 15 18 10th 1988 15 18 12th 1989 10 17 12th 1990 13 12 6th 1991 22 7 3rd 1992 19 12 4th 1993 23 20 4th 1994 17 10 5th 1995 16 12 9th 1996 16 12 4th 1997 14 13 14th Total* 194 158

*--*

* Does not include 12-17 record as women's coach in 1993.

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