Cleve Wright’s first season as head coach of the Miami of Ohio women’s basketball team has seen some rough going, as the RedHawks are 5-11 and 1-4 in the Mid-American Conference.
But after Wright took over the Gannon program in 2002, when the Knights went 12-14, he coached several of the players who played under Jodi Kest, who now coaches at Akron.
On Wednesday (Jan. 15), Wright’s Redhawks beat Akron 79-76 in Oxford, Ohio, in the first meeting between the former Gannon coaches.
Akron won 23 games under Kest in 2012-13, and she is now in her seventh season with the Zips, who are 8-8. Kest received a contract extension through the 2016-17 season.
In six seasons at Gannon, Kest’s teams went 105-64, and she coached them to four Division II tournaments. Wright became the all-time winningest women’s coach with a 233-100 mark, with six D-II appearances, two Elite Eight trips and a semifinal berth in a 37-1 2009-10 season.
The Redhawks have three freshmen, including forward Nicole Anderson, who averages 8 points and 7.1 rebounds. Wright, well-known in coaching circles, is likely going to rebuild the club in due time.
Wright, who brought former Gannon assistant Rachel Folcik along to the program, has established four theme words in his locker room that he calls the “four rocks.” The themes are commitment, work ethic, teamwork and relationships.
– Bob Jarzomski