Ravenswood's boys basketball coach, Price, earns 700th win; Devils beat Buffalo and Wahama

Mark Martin
Special to Jackson Newspapers

Meet “Mr. 700.”

Otherwise known as Ravenswood head boys basketball coach Mick Price.

The hard-working Price joined the “700 Club” of high school basketball in West Virginia when his Runnin’ Red Devils knocked off Buffalo.

“When I think of it, I don’t think of it like most people,” Price said. “You have to have a passion or you are not going to be in it long enough for something like this to happen.

“For me, it’s always been about the players. It’s not about me. I’m going to be here. It’s helping make these players the best they can be.”

Price and Martinsburg’s Dave Rogers are the only two active head coaches in the state who own 700 wins or more.

“He’s a class act,” Price said of Rogers. “We’ve been friends a long time. The job he’s done at Martinsburg is quite evident. The consistent part has been Dave Rogers. He’s done a wonderful job.”

This season is the 100th in the history of boys basketball at Ravenswood High School.

“At this point of the year, you are scouting, breaking down film, practicing and getting your team ready for the next game.

“But it’s been nice to hear from so many coaches and friends all over the state. There’s so many over the state and back home (in Marion County) that have reached out. That makes it special.”

Price is in his 44th year guiding the Ravenswood High program.

Mick Price, now in his 44th season as Ravenswood's boys basketball coach, recently picked up his 700th career win.

He came to Ravenswood in the 1978-79 season figuring it would be the next step in his career.

Price has had chances to move on to other high school programs in addition to taking jobs at the collegiate level down through the years. But he chose instead to stay in the quiet Ohio River town of Ravenswood.

“The community is why I stayed,” Price said. “We have a good school system here. We have good people. The administration that’s been here for me has been excellent.

“Here in Ravenswood, you are 45 minutes from Charleston. You are 35 minutes from Parkersburg. You’re just a couple of hours away from Columbus and Cincinnati.

“We still have bicycle racks at our school. Kids can ride their bikes to school. People are always out walking. It was the perfect scenario to live and raise your children.”

His coaching career technically started when he was still in college at Fairmont State.

Price’s father, the late Orville Price, was the principal at Mannington Elementary in Marion County.

He took the job as the school’s head basketball coach in name only. He let his oldest son, Mick, run the show.

“He let me do it all,” said Price of his father, who would ultimately become the superintendent of schools in Marion County (as did Price’s brother, Gary, who is 14 months younger) and later in life served as Mannington’s mayor.

Fresh out of college, Price took a teaching and coaching job at Sistersville High School. He was a part of the boys basketball program for three years under the late Ray Barnhart. Barnhart left Sistersville to become the head coach at old Salem College (now University). Ironically, a former Price First Team All-Stater at Ravenswood, Brett Rector, is in his first year as Salem’s head coach.

Price took over as the new leader of boys basketball at Sistersville in the school year of 1977-78. Sistersville is now a part of Tyler Consolidated.  

He was also a head baseball coach and assistant football coach during his time at the school.

As Sistersville’s head boys basketball coach, Price had Richard Summers, the state’s most prolific scorer.

Summers had many outstanding games that season, including a 74-point outing. It’s good to note this was before the 3-point line was installed for West Virginia high school basketball.

“He is the greatest pure shooter I ever coached,” Price said of Summers. “He's been a very good basketball and volleyball coach and principal through the years. He’s had a great career.”

Price inherited the Ravenswood program from the late Jack Wiseman, who left to become the assistant principal at Ripley High School. Price taught with the late Judy Wiseman, Jack’s wife.

“Through the years we developed a great relationship. He wanted to see the program do well,” Price said. “Judy was from Southern West Virginia. So, she knew what basketball was all about. They were two great people.”

Price’s first Ravenswood team in 1978-79 was filled with several talented athletes.

“That first team was a good group of guys. I wish I could have had them longer. Our style was different,” he said. “We had a lot of good guys who had some athletic ability.”

In season number two, Price’s program did the unthinkable and reached the state tournament. It marked just the second time in school history a Ravenswood team had managed to make it to the final stage of the postseason. The state tournament appearance ended a 30-year drought.

“It’s all about culture. You’re trying to build a program. You talk about, ‘This is what you’ve got to do to get there.’ And getting there proved it could be done,” Price said.

“Only four teams made it in Class AA back then (now eight advance). There were a lot more teams in Class AA than there are now. Getting to the state tournament helped set the tone for our program.”

Price would have several other teams make it to the state tournament in Class AA.

Finally, in the season of 2005-06, Ravenswood won it all. The Devils claimed the AA state championship with a win over Bluefield at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum.

“We had been close several times. I thought we were one of the best teams that year. Our ’93 team got beat by Bridgeport in the semifinals. We lost some regionals with good teams.

“(Seniors) Kirk Ritchie and Anthony Sayre weren’t going to be denied that year to win it all.”

Prior to his team’s postseason run, the Ravenswood community recognized the veteran coach in a big-time way by naming the court at the Old Gymnasium (aka The Pit) in his honor.

Ravenswood would capture another title in 2009 with a group of hard-working players.

“We should have won it in 2008,” Price said of a runner-up finish. “The next year you come back and maybe that’s what propelled them, the disappointment of the season before. They knew how to play. That was a good group of kids who played hard.”

Price was honored by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association as the Van Meter Award winner following that season. The Van Meter Award goes to the top high school coach in the state for all sports.

He has also been the recipient of the Little Kanawha Conference’s Wayne Underwood Award, which goes annually to the best all-around coach.

Besides the Class AA runner-up squads, Price has had two others play for a title in Class A.

By being a part of the program for 44 years, Price has coached sons of former players.

“It’s makes you appreciative and blessed to be a part of that. They've become productive citizens and now they’ve taught their sons a lot about being on time, working hard and what it takes to achieve goals. There’s a whole lot more to it than dribbling and shooting.”

Price is presently coaching the second of his three grandsons. Beau Bennett is a rising sophomore in the Devil program. Blake Bennett was a standout for the Devils during the seasons of 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Price and his wife, Susan, are the proud parents of three daughters — Melissa, Katy and Kelsey.

Price also has two granddaughters.

“My family has been a part of this in so many ways through the years,” he said. “They’ve sacrificed a lot, but they are a big, big part of Ravenswood basketball.”

The 700-win plateau for Price came about not only due to his outstanding dedication to the program but that of his wonderful assistants and support staff over the course of time.

“I’ve had so many great guys working with me and helping to develop the kids of Ravenswood into basketball players and good young men,” he said.

Price said Ravenswood basketball wouldn’t be what it is without the unending support from the fans and community businesses.

“It is a really big deal to them. And it’s a big deal for me,” he said. “It’s what helps make our basketball program at Ravenswood so special.”

Besides basketball, Price was Ravenswood’s head football coach for three years in the seasons of 2012, 2013 and 2014. Two of his teams reached the Class AA playoffs and he twice earned Little Kanawha Conference Coach of the Year.  

 A 1970 graduate of Mannington High School, where he was a three-sport standout, Price stayed close to home and attended Fairmont State. He was a part of the late legendary Joe Retton’s basketball program while also playing baseball for the Falcons.

“You’re talking about a Hall of Fame coach,” said Price of Retton, a member of the national NAIA Hall of Fame. “He took me under his wings. He knew I wanted to be a coach. He and I always communicated through the years. And I’ve developed a great relationship with his son David, who has built a powerhouse program at Fairmont Senior High School."

While living, Joe Retton once said if he still had a son playing that Price would be his first choice to serve as the young man's coach.

“That’s the highest honor you can have,” Price said of the Retton compliment.

Price is looking forward to seeing what happens throughout this current 2021-22 campaign, which revolves around the centennial celebration of Red Devil basketball.

“What makes high school basketball so great is that every team is different,” he said. “One team might do something better than another. 

“Your goal as a coach is to bring out the best in each team and find out what they do well. Through our hard work and implementing a game plan, I’ve never stepped out on a court and thought we didn’t have a chance to win.”

One of his greatest joys is running the Midget League program in Ravenswood and seeing kids rise to one day become Red Devils.

As he begins adding to his legacy, Price said the goal is always the same.

“We’re developing kids to be good players and citizens. We want our program to be known all over the state as a good program. We want people to know that we will be trying to win a championship. We want our kids to know it is special to wear that uniform that says Ravenswood and Red Devils. We want them to know they are a part of something special.”

There’s no question that with 700 wins (and counting), Mick Price-coached teams have gotten that message loud and clear.

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In the Buffalo game, the Devils topped the Bison on the road by a final of 63-54.

Matthew Carte led the way with 27 points. Carte had eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. 

Beau Bennett added 11 points and snagged four rebounds. 

Logan Alfred had eight points, seven rebounds, two steals, an assist and one block. 

Ashton Miller scored six points, going 6-of-7 from the free throw line, Sean Banks delivered five, Drew Hunt had four and Blake Ball added two. 

Ravenswood outscored Buffalo in all four quarters. The Devils were 22-of-36 from the field with a trip of 3-pointers. The Devils hit 16-of-20 free throws. 

On the road at Wahama, Ravenswood took down the White Falcons by a final of 73-43.

Miller and Carte led the way with 14 points each. 

Carte added eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. 

Hunt scored 12, collected three rebounds, dished out four assists and came away with three steals. 

Banks finished with nine points, Ball had eight while Alfred and Bennett scored seven each. Alfred also had eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and four blocks. Blake Bibbee finished with two points.

Ravenswood hit 30-of-46 shots from the field, with three behind the arc. The Devils were 10-of-14 at the free throw line.