Picture this: A young, excited, anxious 6th grade version of myself. This is where this story begins. You see, as a sixth grader I could care less about school, homework or really anything besides sports. While not much has changed in that aspect from then to now, many things have – including my relationship with former Trigg County basketball coach and local legend Mike Wright.
As a sixth grader, I could not wait for my first day in Coach Wright’s class. My plan was to go into Coach Wright’s classroom and impress him with my knowledge of sports and learn very little about the rivers in Africa – or any part of geography, for that matter. It didn’t take very long at all for me to notice that my plan and the newly appointed Trigg County basketball coach’s plan were quite different.
While I know now that Coach Wright appreciated and shared my love for sports, especially Trigg County athletics, we both had a job to do in that class. My job turned out to be coming into class, getting the lesson, and then carrying my books outside of the classroom and completing my work. At this time, I figured my relationship with Coach Wright had run its course; I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Fast forward to my junior year. My love for Trigg County athletics was blossoming more than ever, and to show my support, I resurrected The Black Hole! I started a twitter account by the name of @bigblacknation, and I kid you not, all of Trigg County High School bought in. Big Black Nation filled the stands at most Wildcat home games and even took pep buses to big road games. There was just one problem – administration support. I will admit The Black Hole crossed the line a few times and were a little more ruthless than we should have been at times, but no matter what, there was one man there for us, and that man was Mike Wright. Coach Wright fought for us and supported us just like we would support him at every game.
However, I was lucky enough to be much closer to the coach than almost anybody else during that winter. Each game day, I would go to Coach Wright’s classroom – the same one I was kicked out of many times as a loud and unruly sixth grader – just to talk about the upcoming game. Coach Wright and I had many insightful conversations, even many that had nothing to do with sports. Coach Wright became somebody that I turned to when I needed advice or had to just vent. Coach Wright became a friend, almost a brother of sorts. Coach Wright invited me to team-only events; some I could attend and some I had to decline. He treated me like a son and still does to this day. I remember after a heartbreaking loss in the region semifinals to Henderson, which was Wright’s last game as head coach, Coach called me and we just talked for about 45 minutes about how special this season’s team was and how important The Black Hole was to our team’s success.
At that moment I realized, Coach Wright is exactly what his name states: Wright. He was the right coach, he had the right team, he has the right faith, and more important to me than anything, he taught me how to be the right man. I’ve never told Coach Wright thank you for all he has done and continues to do for me so, Mike, if I may call you that – Thank you! Thanks for everything! Kicking me out of class, taking me for milkshakes and most of all being somebody I can turn to lead me on the WRIGHT track. You will forever mean the world to me.
Kullen Garner is a contributing writer for The Cadiz Record. Emails for Kullen can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.