Billy Wright joined the Western Illinois men’s basketball staff in 2008-09 after a 12-year coaching stint, including two years as a head coach, at the high school level in Indianapolis.
As Associate Head Coach with the Fighting Leathernecks, Wright assists with recruiting, scouting reports, game scheduling, player development, on-court coaching, and monitoring the academic progress of the players.
The 2011-12 Leatherneck basketball team made history, and Associate Head Coach Billy Wright was a big part of that. The Leathernecks posted their best record in over 10 years, finishing 18-15 overall and 9-9 in Summit League, made an historic run in the conference tournament, downing North Dakota State and top-seeded Oral Roberts before falling to South Dakota State in the championship game, and took part in the program's first-ever NCAA postseason tournament, the College Basketball Invitational, where they fell at Oregon State. The Leathernecks concluded the season ranked in the top-30 of four national categories, including: 11th in personal fouls per game (15.0), 12th in three-point field goal percentage (39.5), 22nd in scoring defense (60.2), and 27th in turnovers per game (11.4).
During the 2010-11 season, the Fighting Leathernecks battled injuries to starters (13 different starting line-ups) but Wright helped guide senior guard Matt Lander to an honorable-mention All-Summit League honor. Lander, who was also named to the Mayan Division All-Tournament Team at 2010 Cancun Challenge, led the Summit League in made free throws (164) and also topped the Fighting Leathernecks in scoring (17.0 ppg), assists (2.7 apg) and minutes played (36.2 mpg). As a team, Western Illinois led the Summit League in scoring defense (64.8 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (42.9%).
In the 2009-10 season, the Leatherneck defense opened 2010 in the NCAA statistical rankings as it held opponents to 58.2 points per game for a No. 22 ranking out of 334 teams (1/4/10). By the week of February 22, Western's defense had reached its highest ranking of the season as it sat at No. 10 for the first time. Western closed out its season with the No. 10 ranking as it held opponents to only 59.6 points per game, leading the Summit League. Ceola Clark was named Summit League Defensive Player of the Year at the close of the season, the first time in program history a Western Illinois player earned the yearly honor.
In 2008-09, the Fighting Leathernecks recorded their best conference start since the 1997-98 season. Wright worked with Western's highest leading scorer since the 1996-97 season in senior David DuBois, also a Summit League all-conference selection.
Academically, Wright assisted a team that earned a 3.231 team GPA for the Fall 2008 semester, the best GPA of the men’s basketball team for at least 11 years and a higher GPA then that of the Macomb campus (2.880). The Leathernecks had 10 players on the roster with a 3.0 GPA or better and two players with a perfect 4.0 GPA. DuBois became one of only two league players to earn 2008-09 CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District First Team honors. In the following season, senior David Nurse became the only Summit League player to earn the 2009-10 CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District First Team award as a first-year graduate student.
A 2007 inductee into the Bradley University Hall of Fame, Wright played under Jim Molinari at Bradley from 1992-96. In his senior campaign (1996), he was named to the Missouri Valley First Team, while helping lead the Braves to a MVC Title and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Additionally, Wright was selected to the MVC All-Defensive Team for three-straight years (1994-96). In his freshman campaign, Wright was named to the MVC All-Freshman Team. In addition to scoring 909 points in his four-year career for the Braves, Wright’s 595 career assists and 219 career steals rank him third all-time in the record books at Bradley.
Name: Billy Wright
Hometown: Richmond, IN
Alma Mater: Bradley University, 1996
Spouse: Monica Wright
2010- Present: Associate Head Coach Western Illinois University
2008-2010: Assistant Coach Western Illinois University
2006-2008: Head Coach Pike High School Indianapolis, IN
2001-2006: Varsity Assistant Pike High School Indianapolis, IN
1996-2001: Junior Varsity Head Coach Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN
2007 Hall of Fame Inductee - Bradley University
1996 NCAA Tournament - Bradley University
1996 NCAA Missouri Valley Conference Champs - Bradley University
1996 NCAA Missouri Valley All-Conference - Bradley University
1994-96 NCAA Missouri Valley Conference All-Defense - Bradley University
1993 NCAA Missouri Valley Conference All-Freshman - Bradley University
1992 IHSAA State Champion - Richmond High School
1992 Indiana Mini Mr. Basketball (Best Player under 6’0”) - Richmond High School 1992 Indiana All-Star - Richmond High School
NBA Players Coached & Developed Prior To WIU:
Marquis Teague (Pike H.S. – Kentucky)
NBA 1st Round Draft Choice 2012 Chicago Bulls
Jeff Teague (Pike H.S. – Wake Forest)
NBA 1st Round Draft Choice 2009 Atlanta Hawks
Courtney Lee (Pike H.S. – Western Kentucky)
NBA 1st Round Draft Choice 2008 Orlando Magic