Retired Coach Returns to the Diamond
Former baseball and basketball coach at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High is now the hitting coach at Montgomery College-Rockville.
Bill Wright, the silver-haired former baseball and basketball coach at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, has come out of retirement to help his long-time friend and former upcounty rival Rick Price revive the beleaguered baseball program at Montgomery College-Rockville this spring.
“Rick called and asked me if I’d like to do it,” Wright said. “He and I go way back…we were teammates at Wheaton High School [in the early 1960’s] and played together at MC-Rockville in 1964 and ’65,” he said.
Price, who has been head coach of Gaithersburg American Legion Post 295 for many years, is the interim head coach, while Wright is serving as hitting coach.
The MC-Rockville team opens its season Thursday, against Baltimore City Community College with a home game at the Rockville campus.
Wright, who retired in 2007 after 24 years as the varsity baseball coach at B-CC, was a star pitcher at MC-Rockville and is a member of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
He acknowledged that it might be a case of coming “full circle” going back to help the MC-Rockville program, which looked to be in jeopardy after the departure of baseball coach Bob O'Connor.
After some worries about having enough players this season, Wright said the community college baseball program appears to be in fairly decent shape. “We have enough players to field a team right now and we hope to recruit” some more over the next few months, he said.
“We have fantastic facilities for baseball up here…really better than Germantown,” he said of the upcounty Montgomery College campus that has fielded strong teams in recent years.
Wright went on to play Division I baseball at the University of Kentucky. He was drafted by the Washington Senators, but an elbow injury ended his playing career.
He was a physical education teacher and coach in Montgomery County Public Schools for nearly 40 years, most of them at B-CC.
His baseball teams captured nine division titles and twice reached the state finals in 1988 and l989 when they were led by Chevy Chase’s legendary Harrell twins, Matt and Phil, a formidable pitcher-catcher battery. The Harrells starred at Duke and catcher Matt was drafted by the Montreal Expos and played two seasons in their farm system.
Wright said those ’88-’89 teams were “without a doubt” the best he coached at B-CC in baseball, where he compiled a record of 267-l55 over 24 seasons.
Wright also coached his son, Donnie, at B-CC in the early 1990's. Donnie landed an athletic scholarship to Penn State and starred at first base for the Nittany Lions for three seasons in the late 1990s.
Bill Wright also had huge success as a basketball coach at B-CC, winning the state championship at Cole Field House at the University of Maryland, College Park in 1984. That team was led by Mark Karver, who went on to play for the Terrapins and is now the junior varsity basketball coach at B-CC.
Wright noted there were several other solid players on that ’83-’84 squad including football star Chet Culver, son of former U.S. Senator John Culver (D—Iowa). After playing football at Virginia Tech, Chet Culver went into politics and became the governor of Iowa.
In 17 years as head basketball coach at B-CC, Wright posted an overall record of 341 wins and 162 losses.