Willis Wright named to Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame

Published 8:47 am Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Willis Wright has been named as a member of the 2022 Class of Inductees of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, and will be formally inducted into the prestigious hall next July.

Wright was the head football at South Panola High School from 1991-95 and again from 2002-07.

His teams appeared in 14 state title games in his career while amassing a 237-70-5 as head coach. Wright led the Tigers to the school’s first state championship in 1993.

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Coach Wright has nine state championships to his credit, six of which were obtained at South Panola.

He was the head coach of four state championship teams and four different schools that included twice at Starkville High School and one at North Delta School, and served as defensive coordinator on five state championship teams.

He was also the 1988 Alabama defensive coordinator and 1994 Mississippi offensive coordinator in the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star game and was on the winning team on both occasions.

“I’m very thankful to be put into the Hall of Fame,” Wright said. “It’s really because of the players I coached and the coaches that were with me. It’s a team thing and it’s a lot of people beside myself that are involved with it, and I know that.”

Wright started his coaching career in 1970 at Drew High School.

He was elected to the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame in 1998 and named State Coach of the Year in 1984, 1987 and 1993.

He is a member of the Greenville, Alabama Football Hall of Fame.

Saltillo High School’s stadium is named Willis Wright Stadium. He continues to volunteer his time at South Panola and helps the coaching staff as needed.

The rest of the 2022 class of inductees are Maggie Bowen-Hanna, an all SEC swimmer; basketball great Kermit Davis, Sr.; baseball star David Delluci; PGA golfer Jim Gallagher, Jr.; former Major Leaguer Barry Lyons; MSU football star Eric Moulds; and football coach Bob Tyler.

Photo: Joining in congratulating Willis Wright upon the announcement of his coming induction in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame this week was (from left) Superintendent Tim Wilder, assistant football coach Chuck Friend, retired Coach Wright, and Head Football Coach Ricky Woods.