By Marty Farmer
When Scott Thies, the athletic director at Fenwick, began the search for a new wrestling head coach this spring, he wanted to find a person who knows how to run a program rather than just coach a team. Thies believes he found that match in Reggie Wright, who replaces Chris Ruffino, who stepped down as the program's head coach in late February after coaching the Friars for two years. Wright takes over the program as a proven winner at various levels.
When he wrestled at Proviso East, Wright was a two-time state champion. At the collegiate level, he was a National Junior College champion for Triton before joining Oklahoma State where he earned recognition as a three-time Big 12 champion and three-time All-American with the Cowboys.
Wright's post-collegiate wrestling accomplishments are also impressive, highlighted by a third-place finish at the Acropolis Tournament in Athens, Greece and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open. As an assistant at Indiana University for six years, he coached 10 All-Americans and six Academic All-Americans, including two-time NCAA champion Joe Dubuque. After his successful stint at IU, Wright became the head coach at Delaware State University. He holds master's degrees in kinesiology and school business management.
"I am very excited to be joining the Fenwick Friar family," Wright said in a statement. "This is a terrific opportunity for me to live my purpose in life of helping student-athletes by sharing my love of Christ through the sport of wrestling. I look forward to the challenge of continuing the success of the prestigious program that Jerry and Chris Ruffino have built over the years. I believe my experiences in wrestling for the legendary Hall of Fame coach Bill Cartwright and the two-time Olympic champion John Smith will help me lead Fenwick. I would like to thank President Peddicord, Principal Groom, and Scott Thies for showing confidence in my abilities and giving me the opportunity to lead Fenwick into this new era of high school wrestling. "
While Thies credited Ruffino for heading Fenwick wrestling in the right direction, he's confident Wright can take the program to the next level.
"Fenwick is thrilled to announce the hiring of Reggie Wright as our new varsity wrestling coach," Thies said in a statement. "Reggie understands the balance of academics and athletics. Further, Reggie's success on the mat and experience coaching will make him a great addition to Fenwick."
Although several of the Friars' top wrestlers will graduate this year (notably all-stater Mike Kozyra who will wrestle collegiately at Illinois, sectional qualifier Jim Wise, Emerson Harris and Ryan Sanchez), Chris Hawthorne, Al Aguilar and Ben Uphues headline a returning cast of grapplers for Wright to work with next season.