March 31, 2009
Danny P Smith -
STARKVILLE -- Football has always been in Jody Wright''s blood.
From winning three state championships in his playing days at Pickens Academy to playing at Jacksonville State University in Alabama to coaching at Jacksonville and Mississippi State, Wright has always found a way to keep the game a part of his life.
Coaching is something Wright always wanted to do. Jody wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, Lynn, who coached his sons (Jody, Josh, and Johnathan) at Pickens Academy and is now the principal at New Hope High.
"I knew Jody has a love and passion for the game," Lynn Wright said. "Jody has had this drive to keep going and it was the same kind of drive he had when he played ball. He''s always pushed himself and was so appreciative of the opportunities he''s been given."
Lynn is proud of Jody, his brothers, and teammates who made his time at Pickens Academy special.
Jody went to play at Jacksonville, but when a series of knee injuries ended his playing career, he opted to go into coaching.
"As long as I can remember, I was on the sideline with my dad and I didn''t know anything else," Jody said. "Since I was real young, I knew I always wanted to be a coach and was always involved with football."
Jody became a student assistant at Jacksonville. Sylvester Croom then brought him to MSU as a volunteer assistant in 2007. Wright became a graduate assistant while working on his master''s degree last season.
After Dan Mullen was hired to replace Croom, Wright wasn''t sure about his future.
Mullen was impressed with the way Wright worked in the office and decided to keep him on as assistant to the head coach and the coordinator of football operations.
"The first day I got hired Jody was running around and trying to get everything done the first day I was in the office," Mullen said. "He was getting as many things organized as he could and made a great impression."
Wright is responsible for practice organization and making sure coaches, managers, and video personnel are organized. He also handles travel plans.
Wright''s goal is to help make Mullen''s job easier.
"He has been a great help for me in every aspect of this program," Mullen said. "Jody has a tremendous work ethic and understands what needs to get done with a football program."
Wright appreciates the support he has received from his father, mother, and brothers. Josh is the coach at Bessemer Academy in Alabama, while Johnathan is finishing his playing career at West Alabama.
The opportunity to work with Croom and Mullen has encouraged Wright.
"It was a great opportunity when coach Mullen came here to keep me on," Wright said. "Coach Mullen is a real high-energy guy, and I think he is going to do real well here.
"Coach Croom left a real solid foundation with some good kids, and we''re still a young football team, but I think we''re headed in the right direction."
n Football coaches clinic set for this week: Mullen and the Bulldog coaching staff will host their first Spring Football Coaches Clinic on Thursday and Friday on the MSU campus.
High school and youth league coaches are invited to attend the event.
The event will feature on-field demonstrations by the Mississippi State coaching staff, presentations by top high school coaches from around the state and "chalk talk" sessions with MSU coaches. Participants will also be treated to three all-you-can-eat meals.
The clinic will begin with registration at the Palmeiro Center at 9 a.m. Thursday, followed by a morning of instruction by Mullen, defensive coordinator Carl Torbush, and offensive coordinator Les Koenning. After lunch and sessions led by prominent high school coaches, the clinic will move to the practice fields for the Bulldogs'' fifth spring practice and on-field demonstrations of coaching techniques.
An evening of dinner and Cappe''s Chalk Talk with Coach Mullen and the MSU coaching staff will conclude the first day''s activities.
Breakfast will be provided on Friday morning, and head strength and conditioning coach Matt Balis will host the first session. The clinic will conclude at noon, and coaches are invited to attend Friday afternoon practice.
Registration is available at the door for $40. High school coaches can also earn continuing education units for their participation at the clinic.