New Wellsville coach is all Wright

WELLSVILLE – After sitting out last football season, Rich Wright is ready to return to the sidelines.

“You find out how much you love something when you don’t have it,” Wright said.

The former Beaver Local coach received a three-year supplemental contract Monday night to be Wellsville’s new head coach.

“I’m sure you won’t disappoint us,” board president Karen Dash said at Monday’s meeting. “We’ve heard good things about you.”

In 14 years at Beaver Local, Wright was 83-66 with six playoff appearances and three 10-0 regular seasons before stepping down after the 2011 season.

“They told me I would miss it,” he said. “I missed it. That’s the reason I applied.”

He said he didn’t have second thoughts about his decision not to coach until after the 2012 season got under way.

“I was really busy in the summer,” Wright said. “I didn’t miss it until three or four weeks into the season. I missed the routine of preparing each week. I was around kids each day, but I wasn’t an influence on the way they prepared for Friday nights.”

He takes over for Dave Skinner, whose contract was not renewed after going 32-29 in six seasons, including a trip to the 2011 state playoffs.

“I thought that would be a good fit,” Wright said. “I’ve always felt good about the town and the pride they’ve shown.”

Wellsville has had two winning seasons in the past 11 years – including four 5-5 campaigns.

“I’ve always had respect for the town,” Wright said. “I want to march from town to the stadium. I’d like to have the town decorated for the games.”

“I don’t know if you can go back to 1994, when I remember how cool it was in Wellsville when they made their run (to the state championship game). I think we can, but we’ve got to get the kids to believe in me and got to get me to believe in them. But we’ve got plenty of time.”

Wright, whose family lives in Calcutta, said Wellsville was the only coaching job he applied for. He plans to continue teaching physical education at Beaver Local High School.

“When you just put in for one job, you’re just concerned about that job,” Wright said. “They asked me a lot of questions and I asked a lot of questions.”

He wants to meet with the team as soon as possible.

“Hopefully as soon as Tuesday,” Wright said. “I know some of their families. I’ve seen them play two times and caught one of their basketball games. We’ll get them in our weight program and our agility program.”

He said his coaching staff will include “a couple of assistant coaches I’ve coached with and coached against and a few Wellsville guys who know the kids and families even better. I’ve got to build relationships.”

He takes over a Wellsville team that went 4-6 last season with most of its top players in the junior class.

“I want to see if we can live up to expectations,” Wright said. “But football isn’t about expectations. It’s about chemistry, a little luck and preparation.”

He plans on bringing in assistant coaches to run a variation of the spread offense.

“We’ve got to develop the mindset and the physical part,” Wright said. “Whatever you run, it will be some kind of hybrid style.”

His first priority is to get as many players as possible out for the team.

“We’ve got to get the numbers up,” Wright said. “We’ve got to make sure we have some JV games and freshmen games and build the program from grades 9 to 12.”

He is familiar with many of the teams and coaches in the Inter-Tri County League.

“There are not too many teams that open with a rival like Toronto, a rival like Southern and a rival like Lisbon,” Wright said.

He has coached with and against Toronto coach Eric Meek and Lisbon coach Jim Tsilimos.

“And I’ve always been good friends with the Altomare family (from Leetonia), who we play in week four.”

There also is Doug Velasquez – Wright’s defensive coordinator at Beaver Local who also applied the Wellsville job and is the new coach at Mineral Ridge. The Rams are dropping to the lower tier next season and will be the preseason favorite.

“Mineral Ridge, McDonald and Western Reserve are probably planning on going to the playoffs,” Wright said. “Lowellville had a good ending to their season and are looking to be there. Obviously, we plan on being one of them, too.”