Lane Price has traded the gym for the baseball field, having been named Watertown High baseball coach Wednesday.
Price stepped down as girls’ basketball coach earlier this month after eight seasons and 10 wins shy of the Tigerettes’ alltime wins record. That was roughly the same time frame E.J. Wood resigned as baseball coach to take a position in the Wilson County Schools central office.
The 49-year-old Price is no stranger to the diamond, having served on Wood’s staff and as head coach at Watertown Middle before his wife, Kayla, became principal last year. He became pitching coach of the Purple Tigers this spring after Nathan Holcomb moved to take the same position under Mark Purvis at Mt. Juliet.
He pitched as a freshman at Trevecca Nazarene in the spring of 1987 before a pre-existing arm injury became too painful to endure. Price uses a different arm slot to throw batting practice now.
The decision to leave basketball was a family matter with oldest son Seth playing baseball at Lindsey Wilson College and middle son Heath, entering his senior year at WHS, a college football prospect.
“In my heart, I decided I had done I could do with basketball,” said Price, who coached the Tigerettes to a District 8-A championship and is the first girls’ coach to leave with a career winning record since 1950. He said leaving hoops will leave the holiday season, the busiest time of year in basketball, open to spend time with family. He’s also anticipating watching Heath play football in college late in the season, either in a playoff or bowl game.
“I want to go to that,” Price said. “I don’t want to miss it.”
The Purple Tigers lost four seniors from the recently-completed 7-20 baseball season with six or seven regulars, depending on who’s pitching, returning.
“I’m excited about the new job,” Price said. “If we can come in and get after it, we’ll be all right. I’m excited about what we got coming back.”
Price will also be the second coach to lead the Tigers in their on-campus facility which opened in the fall of 2014. Previous to the new school, Watertown played in the city-owned Three Forks Park since reviving the sport in 1988 following a five-decade hiatus.
“It’s a beautiful facility,” Price said of the home of the Tigers. “A beautiful place to watch a game and play a game. All the things are in place to be successful.”