By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– With his teams working on hitting inside the gym on a rainy Monday day, Max Price is a long way from his North Salem playing days.
Ten years to be exact as Price graduated from the Salem school in 2007 under then and current Viking Head Coach Chris Lee.
And through the years, he made his way back to North to coach under Lee during the summer times while at Pacific University and the last three or four years as he takes those lessons from the well-known coach over to South Salem this Spring for his first season as Head Coach of the Saxons.
“I consider him to be the best High School coach, but that’s because I’m pretty bias cause I played for him and coached with him,” laughed Price. “(He’s) a really good mentor, the kind of things you learn from him are all grounded in work ethic and making sure practices are lined up perfectly and you got things lined up for everybody to do and making sure guys are held accountable and sticking to that.
“So I think from him, the basic thing I’ve learned is having an amazing work ethic while obviously he does and try to transfer that over here and try to instill that with our players which is a big deal for me.”
With the Saxons returning two from last years squad, Price points to also the fact that there is a mixed between underclassmen and upperclassmen who can contribute and be successful from Day One on the diamond.
And Price sees the excitement as his team enters the second week of practice and a week until the season ‘officially’ starts with games.
“I think coaching at North, we ended up having less kids come out so I’m kind of used to having a good mixed of younger and older guys so.,” said Price. “So I kind of have that in my background already. The guys we have on our roster are as good as anybody as any group of seniors anyway.
“It’s kind of excited cause we have guys who are really young who are sophomores who are going to be contributing big time and starting, and we’re going to have guys who are juniors who have been in the program who have been varsity starters for three years. So I think that combination of those things, we’re going to be successful just base on that though we maybe a younger team.”
For Price, he sees the foundation in those numbers to build around; wheither it’s for a year or two or even three years.
“It’s exciting because we are setting a foundation for not just this year, but for the next two-, and three-years with the guys we have on the varsity team,” he said.
The progression entering the second week hasn’t been a complete-180 said Price as the kids were just as focused as they were last week; but there’s a sense that they know when the games start next Monday, the game won’t be waiting around for them to say, ‘I’m ready to roll’.
“Like we said at round table today,” starts Price. “Yhe guys focused from last week to this week has been not a total 180, they were focused last week but there is a new sense with them as they are working through things that they are really focused and they’re picking up the idea of that things are starting in a week and the game’s not going to wait around for them to get ready so we’re diving in.”
With the season starting Monday with Sheldon coming to town, soon enough it’ll be the Mentor versus The Student on April 7 and April 10.
But until then, it won’t probably hit the North Salem grad until it’s actually game day and the names are being announced.
“I won’t think about it until Carl is announcing names and I’m going, ‘Oh man I’m on the other side of the dugout it’s kind of weird’,” said Price with a laugh. “But until then, I don’t think it’ll really hit me on how weird it is.”
In the meantime, the focus is on the Irish for their Monday showdown at 4:30pm.
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