By David Fong
TROY — Even as he began his rise up the college coaching ranks, Tyler Wright could feel himself being pulled home.
“It was always in the back of my mind,” said Wright, a Troy High School graduate who recently was promoted to offensive coordinator of the Troy football team. “You never know where you are going to end up, but I knew one of my goals in life was to come back and be part of the greatness that is Troy football.”
Two years ago, Wright — a 2009 Troy High School graduate — left his job as running backs coach and head junior varsity coach at Bluffton University to return to his alma mater. He has spent the past two seasons as the Trojans’ quarterbacks coach and special teams coordinator.
When Jason McGaharan, Troy’s offensive coordinator the past two seasons, announced he wouldn’t be returning this fall, Troy head coach Matt Burgbacher wasted little time in tabbing Wright to run the program’s offense.
“He’s a buy who brings a lot of benefits to our program,” said Burgbacher, who has coached the Trojans the past two seasons. “Now is the time for him to take over the reins of our offense. It’s not so much a matter of us changing what we do on offense, but Tyler is definitely going put his own mark on our offense.
“Tyler is a guy with a lot of energy who works great with our kids. The kids are excited — and ultimately, every decision we make is in the best interest of the kids. He’s a Troy guy. He’s here for the kids. He’s a great program backer. Also, it’s always great to be able to promote from within our staff — it shows guys are ready and committed to our program.”
During his playing days at Troy, Wright was one of the most versatile athletes in recent school history, lettering in football, basketball and baseball for the Trojans. He was best known, however, for his time as Troy’s quarterback during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. As a senior, he completed 68 of 108 passes for 1,105 yards, becoming the first Troy quarterback to throw for more than 1,000 yards in a season in nearly 25 years.
Perhaps his greatest claim to fame as Troy’s quarterback came on Oct. 19, 2007 when he helped lead the Trojans to a 36-35 victory over rival Piqua. After running back Corey Brown had scored to bring the Trojans back to within a point, 35-34, with 23 seconds left in the game, then-head coach Steve Nolan elected to go for the two-point conversion.
Wright dropped backed to pass, but was immediately pressured by a Piqua defender. As he was being dragged to the Troy Memorial Stadium grass, he flipped a quick pass to receiver Benson McGillvary, who was able to hold onto it, giving the Trojans the win over their rival.
“I grew up in the Ryan Brewer Era; I grew up in the Steve Nolan Era,” Wright said. “It was always something I wanted to be a part of when I got to high school.”
Following high school, Wright went to Bluffton, where he played both football and baseball for the Beavers. After graduation, he joined the coaching staff, where he would spend several years before returning to Troy. After apprenticing the past two seasons, he’s ready to take over a high-powered offense that averaged 400.5 yards and 33.5 points per game last season.
“One of the things we want to focus on is making a smooth transition,” Wright said. “It’s going to be very similar to what we’ve been doing. You are going to see a lot of similar things — but at the end of the day, we are going to run the offense the best way I see fit and, most important, the best way Coach Burgbacher sees fit.”
Wright said he’s happy to be home — where he had always dreamed of ending up anyway.
“It’s an honor,” he said. “I am more than blessed to be in this town, helping to coach this team and working with these kids. One thing I already told the kids is that it may be me calling the plays, but it’s not my offense; it’s their offense. I want to give the kids ownership of this offense — I don’t want them to just be renting it for the day.”
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong