A generation after she ex-celled as a star volleyball player at Hailey’s Wood River High School and then in college, Kristyn Price Rutland is returning to Wood River as its next volleyball head coach.
Price Rutland, 38, a Bellevue resident, accepted the position as only the sixth Wood River head volleyball coach in 45 sea-sons of Hailey volleyball. She replaces Tim Richards, who resigned in December after 16 years in the head coaching job.
As a 5-8 outside hitter feared by opponents for her leaping ability and hammer at the net, Price Rutland sparked Wood River teams under coach Reamy Goodwin to an amazing 127-29 record and four district tournament titles from 1995-98.
Recruited by several NCAA Division 1 colleges, Price Rut-land became a four-year starter at Albertson College of Idaho in Caldwell and set kills and aces records there—becoming Cascade Conference “Player of the Year” as a senior in 2002.
The daughter of Bruce and Sherry Price has coached Sun Valley Community School volleyball for over a dozen years, and has become a mother her-self during that time.
Announcing the selection Monday, Wood River High athletic and activities director Kevin Stilling said, “In Kristyn we get an experienced coach who has a great deal of experience as a coach and a player.
“Kristyn impressed our committee with her passion for the game of volleyball. Passionate is the same word used by many I talked to in describing coach Rutland. We are ex-cited to see that passion for the sport exhibited by her players on the court this fall.”
Price Rutland said, “I am grateful and excited for this opportunity and cannot wait to see what is to come for Wood River High School volleyball.”
She added, “We will be prepared to challenge and dominate our game. We will practice how we play. We will walk out of the gym feeling good about what we put on the floor. We will be proud of the performance we are giving.”
Her background is one of competition at a high level. After her playing career, she has become a patient teacher of fundamentals as a coach to less skilled youngsters. Now, she wants to ramp it up a level.
Price Rutland led a team of Wood River eighth-graders who won a district championship in 1993 and then sparked a local club squad that became U.S. Volleyball Association regional 14-and-under champs in 1994—the first team outside of the Salt Lake City to win that title.
In 1996, her club team placed 63rd of 284 teams in the 18-and-under division of the prestigious Davis (Ca.) tournament.
Price Rutland benefited from the setting ability of three-time All-League Most Valuable Player Summer Williams from 1995-97 on the Wolverine varsity—capping that run with a second place State A-2 tournament finish to Bear Lake of Montpelier in the 1997 state meet at Coeur d’Alene.
Coach Reamy Goodwin, whose 12 seasons at the Hailey helm from 1990-2001 included a 277-175 mark and seven district tournament titles, had this to say about his 1998 team with seniors Price Rutland, Jamie Menges, Jill Brown, Sarah Kolash and Heather Doane:
“I have been fortunate over the years to have had some great players and great teams, but never has this school seen a class that has dominated a game like this one has.”
Price Rutland recalled, “Volleyball has been a huge part of my life since I began playing at 12 years old. It has become second nature and I cannot imagine it not being part of my life.
“As a player, I was blessed to have had some of the best coaches around. Reamy Goodwin was the foundation for much of the success I had as a player. I’m lucky enough to be in the gym with him still to this day—learning and growing as a coach with him as my mentor.”
She had many college options, but stayed in Idaho.
Price Rutland said, “After graduating from Wood River in 1999 and being recruited by NCAA Division 1 schools, I decided to step into a growing program at College of Idaho with Derek Soderblom and cur-rent head coach Liz Mendiola.
“I led the ‘Yotes to their first national championship appearance my sophomore year. I broke and still hold the record for kills in a match (37), aces in a match (9), the top three spots for kills in season (626, 542, 508), kills per set in a season (5.16), kills in a career (2,006).
“I am also in the top-20 All-time NAIA players with double-double matches. I was honored to be inducted to the College of Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame in June 2017 alongside NBA great Elgin Baylor.”
Price Rutland started coaching at Sun Valley Community School as an assistant coach for Goodwin. She spent nine years, from 2010-18, as head Cutthroat volleyball coach and enjoyed her best two campaigns in Sun Valley in 2017 (5-10) and 2018 (5-12).
She said, “After nearly 15 years ‘all in’ at SVCS, I feel that it is time for me to move on.
“I have enjoyed my time there developing relationships with the student-athletes, their parents and staff. It is a bitter-sweet departure. But the pro-gram has grown and has be-come more competitive. There are athletes that really have a love for the game. I’m happy to have been a part of that.”
Price Rutland is ready for the next step in a love affair with volleyball that reaches back over 25 years.
She said, “The success I had as a player has bled into my desire to coach young women and help them pursue their dreams as young volleyball prospects. I enjoy leading young athletes with the desire and passion that I grew up playing with.
“I want to share the good, the bad and the ugly with them. To be a successful player, one must experience a plethora of dynamics. The reaction to those dynamics is what is important to instill in these young competitors.
“My plan for the WRHS program is to instill the basics and elevate the game from a solid foundation. I think it is important to adapt with the players that you have and to utilize them dependent on their strengths.
“I would like to diversify and speed up the offense as well as create a system where these athletes are competing at their highest possible level.”
Price Rutland and her husband Ryan have two children, Lena who will be 7 in July, and 4-year-old Hendrix.
She becomes the sixth Wood River volleyball coach, following Dale Rathke (1975-76), Dave Neumann (13 seasons, 1977-89, 243-97 record), Goodwin (1990-2001), Richards (2002-18, 305-259 record) and Jane Turner (2015).
Price Rutland’s older brother B.J. Price, a 2006 Boise State University graduate, was a basketball star at Wood River during his three-year varsity career from 1994-97.
B.J. Price acknowledged that watching coach Goodwin inter-act with student athletes when he was coaching his sister was a big factor in his career choice of teaching and coaching.
From 2007-2017, Price coached the Twin Falls High School varsity volleyball team for 11 seasons including nine district tournament champion-ships. He resigned in Nov. 2017 after his 37-8 Twin Falls team earned the program’s best-ever state finish with a second place behind Skyview of Nampa.