Although now over 50 years old, at 6'7 and 250 pounds of muscle, Coach Wright still looks the part of an intimidator. However, looks are deceiving, Coach Wright is a quiet spoken former professional basketball player who seriously considered being a theologian.
Gerry Wright graduated from San Gorgonio High School in San Bernardino, CA in 1982, where he was twice conference MVP, 1st Team All-CIF as a junior and CIF Player of the Year and a consensus All-American as a senior. Wright played his freshman year of college at USC where he started for the Trojans and led the PAC 10 in blocked shots. This accomplishment helped him earn runner-up Freshman of the Year honors in the PAC 10. After the season Wright transferred to the University of Iowa and led the Hawkeyes to 3 straight NCAA tournament appearances, which included a trip to the Elite-Eight his senior year. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in communications, Wright was accepted in the University of Iowa's Master's of Arts program in Religion.
Following his stellar collegiate career, the 2 time All-Big Ten and Sporting News Magazine Collegiate All-American was drafted by the Detroit Pistons of the NBA. However, professional basketball would have to wait. Honoring his ROTC committment, Wright attended the USMC officer training program in Quantico Virginia, and was commissioned as an officer in the USN. In the Navy, Wright served as a naval aviator stationed in Pensacola and an instructor of hand to hand combat at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Wright kept his basketball skills intact by playing professionally with the Pensacola Tornados of the CBA. In 1989, Wright was invited to the All-Star weekend and took home the CBA Slam Dunk Championship. That season he led the Tornados to the CBA semi-finals averaging 27 points and 11 rebounds per game in the playoffs.
After the military, Wright was invited to training with Atlanta Hawks, but failed to make the final cut. Unfettered, Wright played several years professionally in Europe and lived in 7 different countries. The 3-time European All-Star has also worked as a police officer for 5 years (LA County Sheriffs and Santa Monica PD), a body-guard, owned and operated a private martial arts studio in Santa Monica, CA, and a body-guard/personal trainer for the Royal family of Saudi Arabia. After 9/11 terrorist attack, Wright came home and returned to his old neighborhood to teach, motivate and inspire the students at Arroyo Valley High School in San Bernardino, CA. He is currently in his 14th year as a teacher (AP U.S. History, World History, Economics and Government) at Arroyo Valley, save one year that he served as a high school principal.
Wright's coaching pedigree is every bit as impressive as his playing career; he has played for and worked with some of the best coaches in the game. To name a few, Wright played for Hall of Fame coaches, Dr. Tom Davis, Joe Mullaney and George Raveling, as well as Bruce Pearl, Mike Dunlap and long-time NBA coach turn analysis, Flip Saunders. The lessons he has learned from these great coaches have paid dividends. In seven years as a head coach, (2 yrs. at San Bernardino Valley College and 5 yrs. at Arroyo Valley High School) Wright won over 70 percent of his games, led SBVC to a conference championship and Sweet 16 appearance in the state tournament, and was selected as Coach of the Year at both the junior college and high school levels. As a head coach Wright has never had a losing season.
However, winning games, as Wright said, is not the main goal. "My goal, and my players know it when they sign up, is to send every student/athlete I coach to a four-year university. This requires full-time commitment to being a student first, an athlete second and above all a person of good character." Towards that end, 90 percent of the players that have played for Coach Wright went on attend colleges or universities. Wright has coached 10 players that went on to play professionally and also coached current NBA referee, Mark Davis. The majority of his former players have earned their bachelor's degree, including his assistant coach, Devon Davis.
Wright earned his Master's Degree in Cross-Cultural Education from National University with academic distinction (3.9 gpa). he mmet and married his wife Eva while playing professionally in Spain. He speaks Spanish fluently, has written two books and is currently working on a third.
Wright's personal motto is "Don't talk about it, be about it!"