From the moment Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College posted its football coaching vacancy in late October, Jack Wright was “obsessed.”
On Thursday afternoon Wright was looking out from a suite at the newly renovated A.L. May Memorial Stadium — his new home.
The Bulldogs announced Wright as their 22nd head football coach during a press conference Thursday at the facility.
“As soon as the Gulf Coast job came open, I knew this is one of the very few special places that can go to the highest heights in this league,” Wright said. “That’s just from me being in it, competing against Gulf Coast and Coach (Steve) Campbell for years.
“I know how high this program can go.”
MGCCC is getting a coach with experience at the high school, MACJC and four-year levels in Mississippi. He served as Grenada’s offensive coordinator last year and as Southern Miss’ offensive line coach the year before. Prior to that, however, is when Wright made his name at the junior college ranks as he turned around a 1-8 Northwest Community College team that was on probation and within two years the Rangers were NJCAA National Champions.
Wright also served as Northwest’s offensive coordinator in addition to offensive line coach at Holmes Community College, Millsaps College and Meridian High.
“There’s nobody in the state of Mississippi that respects this league more than me,” said Wright, who was 15-7 in two years at NWCC. “I know the caliber of coaches we’re going to be competing against and I know the commitment some of the other programs are making, so we have our work cut out for us. It’s going to be a long road, a hard task, but this is the place that can come out on top.”
Wright’s No. 1 objective right now is to get his new staff in place. He said a couple hires could happen quickly, but he cautioned not to get too anxious because things could play out into early January.
“Typically the best coaches are still coaching late in the year, so sometimes you have to wait to get a great coach in that situation,” he said. “I’ll be patient on that to get the right people in.”
The current MGCCC assistant coaches will be considered for the new staff.
Wright also wants to hit the ground running as far as recruiting is concerned. Now is the perfect time, too, as many of the state’s top athletes are on the Coast for Saturday’s Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game, which is hosted at Gulfport’s Milner Stadium.
“This is the first time this time of year that I haven’t been out recruiting, so I’m anxious to get out there and get started,” Wright said. “Whatever the hurdles are to clear to get me out there in a van and started we need to get those done quickly.
Wright replaces Chad Huff, a Hurley native who was relieved of his duties on Oct. 31. Huff was 26-14 in four years as head coach.
Wright and his wife Brooke have a son, Mason, 6, and a daughter, Anne Elise, 3.