Now is the Wright time for Tyrone coach
When the Tyrone head wrestling positioned opened up five years ago, Quentin Wright thought about applying for the job.
But in the end, the Bald Eagle Area and Penn State great decided not to. Terry Tate ended up getting the job.
“I love coaching kids,” he said, “but it just wasn’t at the right time for me. At that time, I had a lot of things going on, a lot of unknowns. I didn’t really want to put my name into it, even though a lot of people thought I should.”
Now the time is right.
After Tate stepped down in March because of increasing work commitment as a funeral director, Wright thought about it and applied for the position.
Last week, the Tyrone Area School Board approved the hiring of the 32-year-old Wright as the school’s head wrestling coach. It goes into effect starting today.
“Now I’m a lot more stable with a wife, kids and everything like that,” he said recently. “It came open again and I thought about it for a week. I talked to my wife and family about it. I said this is definitely something I want to do.”
Wright’s hiring is one of the biggest ever in the history of the Mirror coverage area and District 6. Wright had a gaudy wrestling resume as a wrestler. He won two state titles for Bald Eagle Area in 2007 as a junior and 2008 as a senior and finished second as a sophomore in 2006. The four-time District 6 champ, who went 154-14 in his career, was voted the PIAA Class 3A Outstanding Wrestler as a senior.
Wright was a four-time All-American at Penn State at three different weight classes for Cael Sanderson. He won two NCAA titles at 184 in 2011 and at 197 in 2013 and was a runner-up at 184 in 2012. The two-time Big Ten champ went 116-23 in his career and was very entertaining as a big-move wrestler.
Despite all of his success as a wrestler, Wright actually had to interview for the job.
“We went through the normal process because I don’t deserve anything special,” Wright said. “I need to earn my way just like everybody else.”
Wright has been living in Tyrone for six years. He works at CenClear, is married to Lauren and has two sons, 7-year-old Breyton and 19-month-old Bohan. Lauren’s grandfather, Earl Harris, a state champion for Philipsburg-Osceola in 1958, was the Tyrone Area Junior High coach when Wright met his wife.
While Tyrone will be his first head coaching job, he’s not new to coaching kids. Wright partners with West Branch coach and former Tyrone junior high coach Jason Bainey in running the 4M Wrestling Club in Morrisdale.
“Quentin has been a great coach at 4M since our opening six years ago,” Bainey said. “He enjoys being around the kids and adapts to different levels, from beginners to collegiate level athletes, very well.
“Tyrone has made a great hire. Quentin is not only an outstanding coach, he is a great person who puts student athletes first and takes the time to get to know them on a personal level as well. He has been an outstanding role model for my son Landon, and he is someone that all the kids look up to.”
Leading a wrestling club and leading a program are vastly different, though.
“I definitely know the wrestling part, but with the administration part and going to matches, it will be different,” Wright said. “I’ve just got to get used to doing the paperwork.”
Tate, who shared the Mirror’s Coach of the Year honors with Glendale’s Brian Storm this past season, turned around the once struggling program to earn 14 wins in the last two years. Among the kids he’ll coach are Mirror first-team all-stars Korry Walls and Reese Wood.
“It will be a ton of fun,” Wright said, “because I really think I can add value to these kids’ wrestling career. The goal is to inspire them to become greater than they think they can be. Tyrone is a great community.
“The kids in Tyrone are tough, and the current crew coming through has really great kids. Tyrone is going to be real good real quick. Terry took the bulk of the work when we didn’t have as many kids involved with wrestling. As a community, we can’t thank him enough for taking over the coaching during that time. He rallied the community and the parents to get involved.”
Wright certainly knows how to wrestle, but can he make his wrestlers better?
“The truth is that’s what makes it exciting,” Wright said. “I get to prove to myself that I can coach. I can wrestle, but can I get other people to do it? That’s the part of the challenge that I look forward to. Really the question is can I bring that Penn State environment to the high school setting?”
Asked what “Penn State environment” meant, Wright said “Going out having fun, scoring points and they consistently win when it matters at the end of the year.”
Wright was asked if he thought his wrestling credentials would draw more kids to the program.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I would even love to get kids who have never wrestled before and get them involved. I want to get the kids who are sitting in front of the TV to wrestling practice. I tell people your competitors aren’t the other sports out there. Your competitor is the TV screen. You’ve got to beat that to get kids involved.
“In order to do that, you’ve got to give them something the TV isn’t giving them. I think that sense of community draws people away from (the TV). I’m excited to try out my theories and see if they work.
Wright didn’t know who his assistant coaches would be. He said he’ll check with Tate’s assistant coaches – Buddy Walk, Jason Walls and Jon Wallace – to see if they’re interested in staying on as assistants.
“As soon as they give me the position, I’ll start contacting people and get things rolling,” Wright said. “I have good support from people in the community who reached out to me and encouraged me to apply for the position. I’m going to have a lot of help from people in the community.”