Athletics & Recreation
Inducted in 2009
Category: Coach - Football
Doug Wright never scored a basket, touchdown or point but he was the architect of many in his four decades of duty and devotion to Saint Mary's Huskies teams as an assistant coach of varsity men's and women's basketball and football programs. Not to mention his lesser involvements with hockey and soccer teams he served alongside Bob Boucher and Roy Clements and the principal roles he has filled in establishing and maintaining Saint Mary's Sport Hall of Fame. How this physically marvelous, now 71-year old native of Hamilton, Ont., who also grew up in Dayton, Ohio, with so many brilliant accomplishments has so effectively managed to balance a distinguished naval career with contributing so generously to community commitments outside the service defies logic. But that's the man affectionately known to his legion of friends and admirers as simply "Dougie".
Within the service of his beloved Navy, Doug's career began in 1960 as a player with championship football, basketball, baseball and swim teams at Stadacona, Shearwater and Cornwallis. It was also the start of a lifetime friendship with Navy football legend Robert G. Hayes that continued for another 40 years as Hayes became Athletic Director (later Emeritus) at SMU. It was also at Saint Mary's that colleague Dick Loiselle persuaded Doug to become involved in wheelchair basketball with Halifax Flying Wheels, an association that eventually led to his becoming provincial coach, a sixth place finish at the 1976 Montreal Olympics as national head coach and member of the board and head coach of Canada's Pan-Am Games team that won a succession of medals. He has also found time over the years to head Canada's popular Naval Gun Run team, an annual Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo feature for many years, with many international citations. Doug has been honored by his inductions into the Canadian Armed Forces Hall of Fame, The Order of Military Merit (Canada's highest military award presented by the Governor-General) and many other distinctions.
Doug Wright has a bank of memories of his years as an assistant coach at Saint Mary's, with so many national football and basketball championships from which to choose. But one stands out above the others, the 1973 Vanier Cup title preceded by a tremendous upset victory over Laurier University Golden Hawks in the Atlantic Bowl. "In 1972, they had whomped us 57-7 using the famous "Wishbone T' offence we weren't able to solve. In '73, head coach Al Keith allowed assistant coach Gordon (Spook) MacLeod to devise a reverse defense, attacking the strategy from the inside rather than outside. It worked to perfection, Laurier panicked, they had no passing game and we beat them to move on to the Vanier. That one was one of the greatest upsets in CIAU history".
For his role in that and other Huskies' successes, Doug has already been elected to both the Saint Mary's and Nova Scotia Sport Halls of Fame as a team member. Today he stands tall and alone to be even more properly recognized as one of Saint Mary's greatest assets over the last 40 years. A wonderful single addition to the Hall for which he has done so much in so many ways to develop and maintain.
Portrait Artist: Barb Dorey
Portrait Art Photographer: Joe Chrvala