Murray State Names Jody Wright Next Head Football Coach

Jan 16, 2024

MURRAY, KY – Regarded as one of the top recruiters and talent evaluators in the nation and boasting an extensive coaching pedigree, Jody Wright has been hired as the 20th head football coach of the Murray State Racers. The contract is subject to approval by the Murray State Board of Regents. A four-time FBS national champion, Wright takes over the Racers’ program after spending the last two seasons as the University of South Carolina’s tight ends coach.

CSA is honored to have assisted Murray State President Dr. Bob Jackson and Racers AD Nico Yantko on the search.

“When we began the process of identifying the next head football coach at Murray State, we knew that we needed to look for a relentless recruiter, a proven winner, someone who can identify and develop talent and someone who could build and maintain positive relationships with our student-athletes. Jody Wright checks every one of those boxes,” Yantko said. “This was one of the best candidate pools that Murray State has ever seen and we were extremely thorough in evaluating what we needed to propel our program forward as proud members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. In Jody, we know that we have chosen the right man at the right time to lead the Racers.”

Wright’s resume is unrivaled in the coaching profession, highlighted by two stints under legendary head coach Nick Saban and working with other major names in the coaching profession including Shane Beamer, Lane Kiffin, Billy Napier, and Kirby Smart, among others.

“I’m extremely pleased to welcome Coach Jody Wright, his wife, Meredith, and their children to the Racer Family,” President Jackson said. “Coach Wright has an incredible background in coaching and comes from a long line of successful coaches. I know he will enhance this important program and I am extremely excited about the future of Racer Athletics.”

“I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to be the next head football coach of the Murray State Racers,” Wright said. “There is an unbelievably rich football tradition at Murray State and I cannot think of a better time to take the reins of this program than right now entering the 100th season. We will be relentless in everything that we do and instill a championship mentality into our players, staff and community. I want to thank Director of Athletics Nico Yantko, President Jackson and everyone at the University for placing their faith in me to lead this team into the future. My wife, Meredith, my children Thomas, Wellesley and Landon, and I cannot wait to get to Murray and get to work!”

During the 2023 season at South Carolina, he coached tight end Trey Knox to Second Team All-SEC honors after Knox finished second on the team with 37 receptions for 312 yards and a pair of touchdowns. That same year, Wright helped lead the charge in putting together one of the top recruiting classes in USC history, ranking seventh in the SEC and 17th nationally.

Wright joined the Gamecocks staff after spending the previous two seasons (2020-21) in the NFL with the New York Giants, where he served on the Giants’ staff as a defensive assistant coach working with the linebackers and as an offensive assistant with the running backs under head coach Joe Judge in 2021. Prior to his stint with the Giants, Wright spent one year (2019) with the Cleveland Browns as an offensive assistant working with the running backs.

He coached a plethora of talented running backs at the professional level, including Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb, both of which had exceptional seasons under Wright’s tutelage.

Prior to his time in the NFL, he served as assistant head coach, running game coordinator and offensive line coach at UAB in 2018. That season, the Blazers posted a school record 11 wins that season under head coach Bill Clark en route to a Conference USA Championship and a victory in the Cheribundi Boca Raton bowl, the Blazers’ first bowl victory in program history.

Wright’s first stint at UAB came in 2014, when he worked as the Blazers’ assistant head coach and running backs coach in 2014. The Blazers rushed for 2,637 yards and 17 touchdowns, an average of 219.8 yards rushing per game, as UAB (6-6) become bowl eligible for the first time since 2004.

From 2015-17, Wright served as the Director of Player Personnel under Nick Saban at Alabama. The Crimson Tide posted a 41-3 mark during that three-year stretch and won two national championships. Wright’s responsibilities included the organization of all recruiting and personnel efforts, where he was instrumental in the Crimson Tide putting together the No. 1 signing class in all three recruiting cycles.

That three-year stretch marked Wright’s second tour of duty at Alabama. Prior to that, he worked as a graduate assistant in 2010 and an offensive analyst in 2011-12, when the Crimson Tide won back-to-back national titles.

He served as the tight end coach passing game and recruiting coordinator at Jacksonville State in 2013. The Gamecocks advanced to the third round of the FCS playoffs in 2013, finishing with a record of 11-4. JSU ranked second in the Ohio Valley Conference in total offense (442 yards per game) and scoring offense (35.2 ppg).

Wright began his coaching career as a student assistant at JSU in 2002 and was part of a Gamecock program that won the 2003 and 2004 Ohio Valley Conference Championships.

He spent the next five seasons (2005-09) at Mississippi State University, where he worked as an offensive graduate assistant and eventually rose to the title of Director of Football Operations. He earned his master’s degree from MSU in 2009.

Wright played collegiately at Jacksonville State, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 2005.

A native of Carrollton, Alabama, Wright was an all-state running back and member of three undefeated state championship teams at Pickens Academy (Carrollton, Ala.), where he played for his father, Lynn Wright, who won nine state football championships in the state of Alabama over the course of his storied career

His older brother, Josh, has won four state championships in Alabama and is currently the head coach at Tuscaloosa Academy, while his younger brother, Jonathan, is the head coach at Bessemer Academy.

Jody and his wife, Meredith, have three children, Thomas, Wellesley and Landon.

For the full release from Murray State Athletics, click HERE.

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