Price is right for Northeast School veteran to coach softball

February 18, 1993|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Staff Writer

Northeast High has promoted from within and hired a man who is no stranger to the Eagles' athletic program to succeed 14-year softball coach Lynn Pitonzo, whose teams won an unprecedented seven state titles.

Ron Price, a 24-year teacher/coach at Northeast High who is the school's head boys soccer coach, has been named Pitonzo's successor and says he hopes to carry on the tradition.

"If it ain't broke, you don't fix it, and I expect to run the program pretty much the way Lynn did," said Price, a social studies teacher who in his time at Northeast has coached boys basketball and JV lacrosse.

"There are a couple things we might do a little different, but for the most part, discipline, fundamentals will be the same."

Pitonzo (238-55) retired to spend more time with her family, a decision that Price, as her JV coach the past seven years, said he "knew was coming."

"Lynn had hinted the last couple years that she might step down for family reasons and to spend more time with her two sons," Price said.

Athletic director Roger Stitt said Price was the most attractive of the three candidates for the job because he "has been in the program and is in the building [as a faculty member]. We feel that Ron was the right person for the job."

Former Severna Park head coach Paul Yannuzzi, who led the Falcons to a state championship in 1987 and was an assistant at Arundel last year where he now teaches, applied, as did Debbie Shacklock, a former Old Mill coach.

"I thought it about it long and hard and discussed it with my wife, and this is the only job I would have taken," Price said.

"I like Northeast too much, and I think it's a great school. I got to work with the best in Lynn Pitonzo. She's a great lady."

Price will retain assistants Earl Dundorf and Marianne Schultz. Dundorf had been with Pitonzo since she started and Schultz has coached the JV with him the past two years. Schultz will be the JV coach, and Dundorf will remain varsity assistant.

Price said he hopes to revive interest in the Pasadena/Riviera Beach area in the youth programs.

"We need to get the interest back in the community for the young kids coming up to stick with softball," Price said. "Last year we didn't get the real experienced players we've had in the past.

"But we've got great kids here, and we'll see what we can do. Everybody knows you don't replace a Lynn Pitonzo, any more than you can replace a Harry Lentz [Northeast baseball coach] or a Bernie Walter [Arundel baseball coach] or any quality coach.

"You just try and succeed them and do the best you can with what you've got."

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