Winning is Wright family tradition

SHERIDAN, Ind. - Sheridan High School football coach Bud Wright is closing in on 50 years of coaching, doing things the "Wright" way.

No one has won more high school football games in Indiana than Wright. It's a family trait and a family business.

Coaching is in the family for the Wrights. Kent Wright is in his 13th season as the head coach at Lebanon High School, and Kevin Wright is now in his fourth season at Carmel, 20th as a coach.

The patriarch, Bud Wright, is now in his 48th season as head coach.

"I didn't push it at all, I really didn't," Bud Wright said while sitting down for an interview with his sons. "That's their own decision."

Bud's home is decorated with No. 25 jerseys, which three sons wore, and trophies and mementos from decades of coaching. All five of Wright's children are connected to football in one way or another.

"That was our growing up. That was part of life," said Kevin Wright. "It was a lifestyle."

"A lot of fond memories, I've been locked in lockers for practice and had to come back and get rescued from the coaches," Kent Wright said.

Bud Wright admitted that on the field, he may have been tougher on his children.

"I don't remember being treated that much differently. When I was a sophomore, I remember being treated a little different by the players because there was a little question on whether I should actually be playing or not," Kevin Wright said, but Bud said his son was good.

Wearing No. 25, Kevin helped win his father's first state title in 1980. Kent helped his dad win a second title in 1984. Those two titles were only the beginning. There are now seven.

"Once he got the first two, I think everybody saw he had something great going, and people started buying in," Kent Wright said. "They've only had state championships for 40 years, and he's been there 11 times. That's a pretty good percentage."

Bud credits his success with working with a lot of good athletes.

Wright broke the state's all-time wins record two years ago when he notched his 369th victory. He recalled a chance meeting with then-Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.

"I shook his hand and I started telling him my name and he said, "Oh, I know who you are. I know you,'" Bud said.

Kevin is working on getting a fifth state title, and Kent, with about 60 wins on his resume, thinks hard work will lead to a title, too.

"When I meet somebody, they're always, 'So, you're Bud Wright's son?'" Kent said. "If they don't ask me, I usually tell them."

"I haven't had time to sit back and reflect. It's one of those things that I'm proud of it, but I don't think it's done yet," Kevin said.

"I'm proud of all of them. The way they live their life makes us all proud. I know their mom would be very proud of them," Bud said.

In a family known for winning, there's one loss they're still trying to overcome. In 2003, Jayne Wright, Bud's longtime wife and the kids' mother, died.

Being in the family home always brings back a flood of memories, including a game ball commemorating Jayne that Warren Central presented the family after Kevin coached the Warriors to a state title that year.

"I think about it all the time," Kevin said. "We're in the house where we grew up, and … we're in a little bit of an isolated area. Five kids in this house, there's one bathroom, so we're a very close-knit family, and that's something you never totally get over. It's part of the legacy."

The family's legacy will live on for generations. It’s the "Wright" thing to do.

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