WARSAW – One of the great voices in Kosciusko County will finally be heard as an official local legend this weekend.
Rita Price has been a prominent voice of high school sports in the area since 1976, and after reverberating some of the greatest moments in local sports lore, Price will have her name called this Saturday night as one of 19 inductees into the Kosciusko County Basketball Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. at the Orthopaedic Capital Center on the campus of Grace College.
Price, who began working at WRSW in Warsaw when she was 17, has been there for over 50 years and never dreamed about going anywhere else. The Marshall County native is more than happy to call Kosciusko County home.
“When I started (at WRSW), having a woman on the air was unusual and then when I went into sports, it was quite unusual,” Price said. Through all of it, I felt like I was at the right place at the right time.
“Credit the great people I have worked with for the reason I have stayed.”
Price broadcast the first girls basketball state finals in 1976 when Warsaw beat Bloomfield and has worked every final since including the state championships by Warsaw in 1978, NorthWood in 1999, Triton in 2000 and 2001, and Plymouth in 2008. Price has also worked a good bulk of the boys basketball finals, including some memorable all-time finishes.
“I will always remember that first state tournament and the people that made it special,” Price said. “I also remember the 40-foot shot Scott Skiles made when Plymouth won. At the time, we were living in Plymouth and were friends with Jack Edison and my daughters went to school with Scott.
“And that final shot in overtime taken by Amber Feldman to seal the win for Triton’s girls (in 2000). That was a long range three made by a kid who sat the bench. There again, I knew a lot of the families of the players. Those relationships will always be at the top of my memory lists.”
Price has been calling Tippecanoe Valley football and basketball games since she began the gig in ’76. Fittingly to be inducted this weekend as a coach from Sidney is the legendary Bill Patrick, whom Price has seen many a memorable scene hovering over Viking games. Price and radio partner Tim Keffaber were on the call of Patrick’s 700th career win in December.
Staying sharp over the years has been a challenge for Price, but like keeping up with high school teams and constant change over, staying in tune with radio technology has been a process, as well.
“I have been overwhelmed by technology,” admitted Price, giving a nod to friend Ladonna Thompson for assistance in technology knowledge. “Remember, I started spinning records, now the computer does it all. In 54 years I have had to change my way of doing things and my thinking. It really has been a blessing and has made me feel quite a sense of accomplishment.”
Price, who is already a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, is thrilled to be recognized by those whom she has served for a good portion of her life.
“Years ago, I thought good things happened to me by chance or I was lucky,” stated Price. “Now I am aware that there is a plan for all of us. I really don’t know why God chose me to be in the position to cover the first girls tournament. In many areas, that would have not have been accepted. But the Williams family who owned the radio station embraced it and me and encouraged me to do more.
“So many things have touched my life along the way and now I am thankful every day that I can still do what I love so much. When people ask me if I am going to retire, I always say, “retire to what?” Every day is special when you do what you love.”
Joining Price and Patrick in the Hall induction this weekend will be Bob Creighton and Jim Irwin of Atwood; Al Study of Beaver Dam; John Clay and Rex Woodruff of Claypool; Richard Stouder and James Stouder of Etna Green; Bob Long and Jerry Ryman of Mentone; Chuck Fleischauer of Milford; Jon Sroufe of North Webster; John McFarren of Pierceton; Emery Brandenburg of Silver Lake; Tom Firestone of Syracuse; Lavon Harman of Warsaw; Don Lozier of Leesburg; Norm Hagg of Warsaw; and the recognition of the 1953-54 Mentone Bulldogs team.