St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

Ex-Spartans organize ceremony for Wright


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 2, 2001

For 25 years Dan Wright has been the Lakewood boys basketball coach.

Tonight, before the final home game of Wright's silver anniversary season, about 25 of his former players are going to pay tribute -- and show him he has been much more than just a coach.

"He does a heck of a lot for all of the players," said Anthony Lawrence, Lakewood Class of '88, who is organizing the event. "I wasn't a great student all of the time. I'll tell you what, Coach Wright, he stayed on me. He showed me no slack. It really made a difference in my life."

Lawrence, a business representative for Gateway and the girls basketball coach at Shorecrest, earned a basketball scholarship to Alabama, and later played for and graduated from Miami.

Many credit Wright with giving them guidance and direction.

"I was a kid that was consistently having some discipline troubles in school, and Coach Wright, he was always there. He was always that father figure for me," said Barry Brown, a 1988 Lakewood graduate who has a master's in education and is an on-campus intervention instructor at Boca Ciega. "I would definitely attribute a lot of (my success) to some of the things that I've gotten from Coach Wright."

Wright, 48, said with a fresh crop of kids coming in every year, it doesn't seem like he's been there for a quarter of a century.

"At first we were just trying to fill a team. Now we expect to win championships," said Wright, who has guided the Spartans to four final four berths and a 16-2 record this season.

"I remember the ups and downs. I have a lot of great memories of outstanding players.

"Sometimes in the barber shop, (former players) come by and they say that at the time they thought I was too hard on them, but they see now what we were trying to do and they're thankful. It's nice."

Will there be a 50-year celebration?

"I have no plans at all to be around that long," Wright said. "Maybe another 10, 15 years. I'm still motivated and energetic about what I'm doing."

Lawrence collected contributions toward a gift for Wright, a watch. Wright also will be presented with a plaque and a few remembrances from former players such as Chris Blackwell and Dwight Latimore, who are now assistant coaches on Wright's staff.

"We'd all load up in coach Wright's big, white ... well, I don't know what it was," Lawrence said. "But he had a big, huge something we'd all load up in and travel around the state to play.

"He's the man."

THE REMATCH: St. Petersburg Catholic beat Clearwater Central Catholic 74-69 on Jan. 5 at home in one of the best games of the season.

The Class 3A, District 11 rivals will need a tie-breaker to determine the district's No. 1 seed should CCC (7-2 district record) turn the tables on SPC (8-1) on its home court tonight at 7:30. BRING ON THE BIG BOYS: Two of Pinellas' top teams play Saturday against top-flight Class 6A schools. Countryside travels to Orlando Dr. Phillips (17-8) and CCC, less than 24 hours after meeting SPC, hosts Southwest Miami (20-3) at 6 p.m. on senior night.

Southwest Miami is ranked No. 2 in the 6A state poll.

PCAC: The Pinellas County Athletic Conference title game is Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. at Countryside between the Cougars and Lakewood -- if Countryside can beat either Palm Harbor U. tonight or Dunedin on Feb. 9.

The Cougars, 5-0 in the PCAC North, beat Largo 73-64 on Nov. 29 to put themselves in control.

Countryside finished 8-0 in 5A-10 and is the district's No. 1 seed.

ON THE FLY: Surging East Lake outscored Ridgewood 33-7 in the fourth quarter of its 75-67 win over the Rams on Saturday. ... In two games since becoming academically eligible, Northeast's Terrence McKay has 42 points and 20 rebounds.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk

Hubert Mizell
  • Bulls build solid senior foundation

  • Lightning/NHL
  • Need to get tough? Get Barnaby
  • Lightning's streak finally a winner
  • NHL briefs

  • Bucs/NFL
  • Fired Wake coach in front for QB position
  • Gramatica parents live dream
  • NFL briefs

  • College football
  • Miami trying to hold its new class together

  • Colleges
  • Bulls set to make their Series pitch with depth
  • 2001 Softball preview capsules

  • NBA
  • NBA briefs

  • College basketball
  • Gators get rare win vs. Georgia
  • Men's college basketball around the state

  • Et cetera
  • XFL makes sense to NBC's Ebersol
  • Forgettable game increases Internet traffic
  • Sports briefs

  • Preps
  • Top quarterback prospect commits to Florida State
  • Eagle commits to I-AA school
  • Terrier quick to deny that she likes to run
  • Athletes to watch
  • Citrus teams to meet in 2A-7 championship
  • Gators rout Eagles, 74-51
  • Ridgewood senior sets team career scoring mark
  • Countryside eliminates River Ridge
  • Athletes to watch
  • Spartans predict tough season ahead
  • King outlasts Plant to win 3A-10 title
  • Eagle commits to I-AA school
  • Penalty kicks lift Cougars
  • Ex-Spartans organize ceremony for Wright
  • JV Eagle taken to the hospital
  • Plant goes from worst to first
  • Addae, Buskey select West Virginia, FAMU
  • Track district breakdown

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts