Carror Wright certainly won a lot of games and had plenty of highlights in his time as a high school football head coach in this state.
But his impact on the players he coached has gone well beyond the field. And many times, thats the kind of coach a school wants, and more importantly needs.
Wrights record -- 82-102 -- wasnt what really stands out about his career. Yes, he did some great things with the programs he coached, building Northeast into a playoff regular, taking Dougherty to a state title game and leading a downtrodden Southwest program to the playoffs twice in six years.
But Wrights influence was seen as much in the halls of the schools as it was on the field. Wright did things the right way, focusing on helping the players become better young men as much as he did molding them into stronger players. And thats much more important than wins and losses.
Ive seen that approach from Wright throughout my career, which has pretty much followed Wright around the state, and it has served him well during that time.
When I started in this business at the newspaper in Valdosta, he was an assistant at Lowndes, working for Milt Miller after a highly successful stint with Miller at Worth County, and I got to know Wright well then, working closely with Lowndes coaches on almost a daily basis. Millers staff took over an almost impossible situation at Lowndes because of a divided fan base and built that program into a winner.
Building struggling programs into solid ones became a theme of Wrights head coaching career.
When I was working at the Albany newspaper, Wright stepped into tough spots at Terrell County and Dougherty, and while he was only at Terrell County for one year, he led Dougherty to the state championship game against Peach County in 2005.
Before moving to Dougherty, Wright stepped in at Northeast, a program that had one nine-win season in its history and had not reached the playoffs since 1993. He took the Raiders to the playoffs in his final four seasons and had two nine-winning seasons in his seven with the program.
Wright returned to Macon after his three years at Dougherty (shortly after I moved to Macon) and took on an even tougher test at Southwest. The three years before Wright arrived, the Patriots went 2-28, and the program had not had a winning season since 1989. In his second year, Wright led the team to an 8-3 finish, which equaled the program record for wins and remains one of just three seasons in Southwests 42-year history with at least eight wins. The Patriots also made it to the playoffs in 2010 and just missed out on postseason trips a couple of other times.
As Wright moves on to a position with the GHSA, Southwests football program is better off than when he took over. Off the field, the school is better off for having Wright involved with its students, just like the other programs where Wright worked during his career.
Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org