As UH students and football teammates a dozen years ago, Matt Wright aspired to be a coach while Craig Stutzmann planned to pursue a business career.
“What ended up happening was I went into business and Craig went into coaching,” Wright said. “In the end, we’re both coaching.”
On Thursday, Wright was named Saint Louis’ head football coach.
“I enjoy working with the kids,” said Wright, who also teaches business, marketing and English classes at Saint Louis.
A decade ago, Kevin Lempa, who was UH’s defensive coordinator at the time, envisioned Wright becoming a coach. Lempa had praised Wright’s detailed note-taking and pointed questions during team meetings.
Instead, Wright became a financial consultant, earning a license to trade and sell stocks. Wright and his wife, a former Mrs. Hawaii, even moved to New York, where she was an intern for Jean Paul Gaultier.
Wit the economic downturn beginning in 2008, Wright decided to “reassess his life.” The couple moved back to Hawaii when his mother-in-law suffered an illness. “Thank God, she’s fine now,” Wright said. “It was a tough time for us.”
Back in Hawaii, he was offered a coaching job on Darnell Arceneaux’s Saint Louis coaching staff in 2010. Wright served as defensive coordinator until being named successor to Arceneaux, who resigned citing personal reasons.
Wright said his coaching foundation is traced to his time at UH.
“I was fortunate to be around great coaches,” Wright said. “Offensively, obviously it was with coach (June) Jones. But defensively, there was Kurt Gouveia, coach Lempa, Rich Miano, coach (George) Lumpkin, all of those coaches. I felt I took a little bit of their style and created my own style.”
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Former Warriors who are Hawaii high school head football coaches:
• Kamehameha — David Stant
• Damien — Eddie Klaneski
• Pac-Five — Kip Botelho
• Castle — Nelson Maeda
• Farrington — Randall Okimoto
• Campbell — Amosa Amosa
• Mililani — Rod York
(I suppose David Hallums, who is Pearl City High’s coach, should be included, too.)
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Happy birthday wishes to Cenn Cee and Christy Strobel.