Mitchell athletic director Brett Williams narrowed his choices for the boys’ basketball head coaching job to two applicants.
In order to help him decide between the two, he let both applicants run players through drills for 45 minutes.
The way the student-athletes responded helped land former Air Force Academy player and assistant coach Tyron Wright his first high school coaching job.
“What was impressive was, our kids, every time coach Wright pulled them in and said, ‘OK, here’s what I need, here’s what I expect you to do,’ all the kids were like, yes, coach, yes coach,” Williams said.
That response showed Williams what he needed to see.
Wright takes over a team that struggled last season, but has had recent success.
The Marauders were 8-15 last season in their one campaign under Jamie Anderson.
Mitchell was in the postseason in 2015-16 under Rich Perea, while also going 10-4 in the 4A CSML both that season and the one before, also under Perea. They tied for second in league play in 2015-16 and finished third in 2014-15.
That season saw Mitchell finish five games above .500 (15-10) and reach the round of 16 in the state tournament.
Wright is already crunching as many numbers and as much information he can about his new team.
“I feel like I know a little bit,” Wright said. “I’ll continue to talk to people and do a little bit more research to make sure that I’ve got a good handle on who these young men are and where it is possible for us to go in the future.”
And by future, he doesn’t just mean on the hardwood. Another quality of Wright’s that helped garner him the position was what he wants to do off the court.
“When I asked him, ‘Why Mitchell High School?’, he said, ‘I just want to give back,’” Williams said. “‘It doesn’t matter where, it doesn’t matter how – if I were a volunteer coach at a college level or wherever – but I have this calling to coach and I want to coach with a purpose – and that’s to be a positive influence on young people’s lives.’”
In addition to most recently being an assistant with Air Force from 2012-16, he was also a volunteer assistant coach at the Air Force prep school, a graduate assistant with the Falcons and a player for them from 1998-2000, plus another two years on the junior varsity team.
In his first season with the D-1 program (1998-99), Wright averaged 18.2 points per game.
He’ll try and translate that success to the Marauders.
“I think the young men really do want to work,” he said. “They want the structure and discipline, and they want to work and they want to get in the gym and start progressing and building a future for the team and for their progress for the next year.”