A head track & field coach for 30 years, Stan Wright’s greatest coaching fame came at Texas Southern University, where his “Flying Tigers” dominated the Texas, Kansas, and Drake Relays. His athletes went on to achieve major honors; four of them became Olympians, headed by Jimmy Hines, former world record holder in the 100m dash.
For a third of a century, starting at a time when black coaches were excluded from high positions in the American track hierarchy, Wright was a highly respected coach and administrator. Wright received a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College and a master’s from Columbia before beginning his collegiate head coaching career at Texas Southern in 1950. The TSU “Flying Tigers” became nationally known for their success at major meets, including the Texas, Kansas, and Drake Relays.
In 1967, he left Texas Southern for the head coaching position at Western Illinois. Two years later, Wright accepted the same position at Sacramento State, where he served as head track & field coach from 1969-79 and as athletic director from 1974-79. He left there in 1979 to become athletic director at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.
The author of numerous articles and publications, Wright also served many years with the U.S. Olympic Committee and The Athletics Congress (forerunner to USATF). He served as TAC treasurer from 1989-92 and was chairman of the budget and finance committee from 1980-89.
At the request of the State Department, he coached the Singapore track team in the 1962 Asian Games and Malaysia in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. In 1966, he became the first black head coach of a U.S. national track team when he was named to handle the U.S. team for dual meets against Poland and the Soviet Union. In both 1968 and 1972, he was assistant coach in charge of sprinters for the U.S. Olympic Team.
Wright also served many years with the U.S. Olympic Committee and track & field’s national governing body. He was chairman of the governing body’s budget and finance committee from 1980-89 and treasurer from 1989-92. He also was chairman of the men’s track & field committee of the Amateur Athletic Union and its successor as the sport’s national governing body, The Athletics Congress (forerunner to USATF).
Wright is honored in several Halls of Fame, including the Texas Southern University Athletics Hall of Fame, the USATF Hall of Fame, and the Drake Relays Hall of Fame.