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Price looks for continued success with Lady Indians

Jeff Birchfield • Mar 12, 2019 at 7:17 PM

KINGSPORT — Haley Price knows the expectations for the Dobyns-Bennett volleyball program are always sky high.

The Virginia Tech graduate, named the new coach of the Lady Indians on Monday, wouldn't have it any other way.

Price comes from another tradition-rich program; she was an outside hitter on Sullivan South's 2013 TSSAA Class AA championship team. She wants D-B’s players to have a similar experience.

"Coming in and being able to start with a program that finished third in the state, they have a taste of what it's like to play for a state championship," Price said. "What I want for them is to know what it's like to go and win a state championship."

Under former coach Megan Devine Ailshie, the Tribe went 37-4 last season with a team that included seniors Courtney Whitson, Chloe Harless, Abby Fannon and Bailee Bentley.

However, the cupboard is far from bare for Price, who graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor's degree in clinical neuroscience. The potential senior class for next season includes Staley Humphries, Hannah Watson, Rylee Waye, Nila Wolfe, Caroline Cable, Carly Shell and Sarah Moore.

"We have a lot of good players coming back," Price said. "We want our players to consistently be playing in the state tournament. We want to fulfill that expectation by working hard to keep building that dynasty."

Her high standards and long-term vision made Price the top choice to fill the vacancy left by Ailshie's decision to join the coaching staff of her mother, former East Tennessee State coach Lindsey Devine, at Alabama.

"We are excited to have Coach Price serve and mentor our student-athletes at Dobyns-Bennett," D-B athletic director Larry Shively said. "She has the knowledge, attention to detail and culture, and enthusiasm required to lead our volleyball program to long-term success."

Price's high school career included twice being named to all-conference, all-district and all-region teams. She was the hitter of the year and all-state her senior season. She gives credit to the positive influence of South coach Wendy Ratliff and how she didn't settle for anything less than the team's best.

"The best thing that Coach Ratliff did was put that expectation of winning on us," Price said. "There wasn't a match we ever walked into that we felt we weren't going to win. But you have to put the work in to win."

After high school, Price lettered at Virginia Tech and served as captain of the defense before suffering a career-ending injury that required three surgeries. She never lost her passion for the game and served as a student assistant with the Hokies’ coaching staff. She was also a coach at the Nike High Performance and Virginia Tech volleyball camps as well as the coach of a local travel club.

"I definitely have an undying passion for the game," Price said. "I had some things in my career unfulfilled because of the injury, and I don't know if I would have the same passion otherwise. So I'm actually grateful how it taught me how to overcome and be resilient.

"With coaching, I'm still bringing that energy to the court and sharing the techniques of my college coach, who was in nine national championship games. I hope that, along with the energy I have, will be advantages in taking over a program already successful and taking it to the next level."

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