Experienced player joins women’s basketball program

After a decorated college career and a brief professional run, University of Arkansas graduate and former star point guard Amy Wright has come to USF so she can apply her experience to USF’s struggling women’s basketball team.

Wright joins Bulls management as the Director of Basketball Operations hoping to help turn around a squad that has posted a 25-57 record over the past three seasons, including a 7-20 record last year.

However, in her new role, Wright will have to work hard to find a niche in helping the program. NCAA regulations prohibit Wright from being involved in any courtside activity, including practices and games, limiting her responsibilities to off-the-court duties such as schedule preparation, trading game film with upcoming opponents and insuring opponents for Bulls home games are satisfied with their facilities. While Wright was unable to get on the floor as a coach, she is nonetheless excited to be back in basketball.

“It’s unfortunate that I’m not allowed to work out with the girls here right now, because I feel like I have a lot to offer,” Wright said. “It’s going to be hard, but I can stay in the office and gain experience in these aspects of coaching right now.”

And with her playing days seemingly over, Wright has now turned her full attention towards joining the coaching ranks. Wright was signed out of college by the Detroit Shock but was cut after two months on the team.

“At this point, I haven’t picked up a basketball in around six months,” Wright said. “But I don’t really miss playing. To me that says something is wrong, and my days as a player are done. Playing at that level made me realize that the professional level really is a business, and you really have to be committed to basketball to remain there. It definitely helped me in making my career decisions today. Now I am looking forward to learning here and seeing where it takes me.”

In her career at Arkansas, Wright shattered school records for career and single-season assist totals and earned her All-SEC honors as a junior. Upon graduation, she joined a semi-pro team of college all-stars called the Premier Players that tour the country playing college teams in exhibitions. The tour brought Wright to the Sun Dome, where the Premier Players won a one-point contest on two late free throws.

Just as important as her background on the court is her collection of accolades off it. In earning her marketing and management degree, the Indiana native maintained a 3.0 GPA, was an SEC All-Academic selection and was named a University of Arkansas Scholar Athlete.

“I feel very fortunate to add an individual such as Amy Wright to our coaching staff,” head coach Jose Fernandez said. “She has a bright future ahead of her in this profession and is an excellent example both on and off the floor for our student athletes.”

Wright is looking ahead to that bright future, but at the same time she is staying focused on her duties now.

“If a school were to approach me (about a coaching position), I would be interested,” she said. “But I can’t get ahead of myself. I have a job here to do, and I am happy where I am right now. I like the school, I like the environment and I like the people here. I’ll just have to wait and see where I go from here.”