Panthers headed in the Wright direction

  • Tuesday, August 13, 2013

With his first full week of summer practice behind him, Pinewood Prep coach Michael Wright is excited.
Wright took over as the head coach for the Panther football program in the spring. He replaced Jody Kafina, who held the position the past two seasons.
Pinewood opened practice for its 2013 campaign Aug. 1 and Wright says so far things are going well.
“I like what our coaches and our kids have brought to the table,” he said. “Everything about these players is encouraging. Their attitude is great. They want to succeed and are hungry about their assignments. They are enthusiastic, energetic and just ready to play football. I’m excited about all those things and about how the players are coming together as a group.”
Pinewood had a good mix of upper classmen and younger players come out for the team this year. The Panthers are hoping to improve on the 1–9 record they had last season. However, Wright says he doesn’t want his players to dwell on last year.
“I’m not looking back,” he said. “I’m looking forward and want to do everything I can to support this group of guys and try to give the fans something to cheer about. But it is all connected. The guys who came before us are part of the Pinewood family, we are just extending the family.”
Summerville is rich in football tradition so local fans often have very high expectations for their teams and their coaches. Wright says that is one of the many things he likes about the community, but that as a coach he needs to keep his focus elsewhere.
“I was hired to do my job to the best of my ability so I’m not worrying about those types of things around me,” he said. “I am aware of them because I love history, but the important thing is for me to do the best job I can at Pinewood and not look over my shoulder for those types of things even though I have plenty of respect for what high school football is in this area.”
He is optimistic Pinewood can be competitive on the gridiron.
“I anticipate we will continue to move forward in SCISA football because I have the support of our head master and others at the school,” he said. “The main thing is we need to be consistent about what we do and to continue to generate interest at Pinewood in football. We need our kids to come out for football and we need to make sure they know that as coaches we also support them in the other things they do whether it is another sport or something else.”
The offense he is working to implement sounds fan friendly.
“Our offense and defense aren’t overly complex but they allow us to do a variety of things,” he said. “I like to mix up the run and the pass and I like to use some misdirection. We won’t just use one set thing; instead we will use groups of things. One moment we may use a trips formation, the next we may use a pro set or wishbone. I like to set up the offense so that we can do all those things at any time.”
A native of Bath, S. C., Wright attended boarding school at the Kent School in Connecticut. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from St. Lawrence University in New York, where he earned four varsity letters in football and two in basketball. Wright is a Hall of Fame member for both the Kent School and St. Lawrence University.
With a career spanning 23 years, he has worked in various administrative capacities, coached numerous sports, and taught at both the middle and high school level. 
He says he is thrilled to be back in his home state.
“I’m excited about being back in the South,” he said. “I grew up playing Pop Warner Football and our games were at night. Up North most of the games are on Saturday during the day and that’s different. My family is excited about that Friday Night atmosphere and the culture surrounding it. I’ve always been passionate about football but now I feel rejuvenated. I’m also ecstatic about the topnotch education my children will get at Pinewood.”
Contact Roger Lee @ 873-9424 ext. 213 or rlee@journalscene.com

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