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Gilmer County track coach coping without sports

‘Whole new ball game’ for Willard Wright

GLENVILLE — Willard Wright has experienced many things during his life as a father, teacher and coach.

The longtime Gilmer County High School educator is in a different element now.

“We had a four day break at Easter scheduled is what we had,” Wright said.

Aside from not coaching the track team after instruction time is over, Wright is also having to adjust just like his students to online education.

“Anatomy and biology and then I have one seventh-grade rotation class this year that’s career awareness for nine weeks,” Wright explained.

“Biology is mostly sophomores and anatomy is anywhere from sophomores to seniors. We are basically locked out right now so I’m here at the house.”

Better half Michele is in the health care field, daughter Sada was throwing as a sophomore for West Virginia University and son Trevor recently graduated summa cum laude from Glenville State.

Suffice it to say the house can be a challenging place to be at times.

“It’s just crazy. It’s just crazy,” he said. “I remember when we were in high school that we were out I think for 20 days one year in 1977 or 1978 for snow, but I don’t think in the long scheme of things it hurt us any as far as graduation and all.

“But this is a whole new ball game because not all of our kids have good internet access and stuff where we can do online lessons and things.”

Wright said they have been using non-traditional instruction lessons.

“Instead of having one for every day they changed it to one every other day and that got us through two weeks,” he added. “That first week we went back on Wednesday and prepared another 10 lessons and made up packets.

“They went out this week. On Tuesday, they delivered five breakfasts and five lunches to the bus spots for anybody that wanted them. We’ve got to be available for questions and stuff and contact our home room kids once a week if there are any questions on their lessons or anything.”

The Titan track boss continued of getting back into actual school “the jury is still out. We’ll have to wait and see how things will come up. The governor said that the election is backed up until June 9 now, which is after the last scheduled day of school for anybody in the state.

“Of course, Trevor, he just graduated and was getting some time in substituting when all this hit and he’s stuck at the house with nothing to do. Sada, she’s been figuring out some way to work out twice a day and still gets her lifts in. We are really disappointed about that.”

Sada Wright understands things aren’t ideal at the moment and noted “I think it’s weird for dad because he can’t coach. This is the first spring in like 30 years he hasn’t been going to track practice every day and going to class every day and that’s super weird.

“Mom’s schedule isn’t any different at all. She’s still working and stressed the heck out because she works ICU and they’re just isolating her patients. I’m kind of just doing what I can to keep her from going insane because I would go insane if I were in her position.”

Coach Wright is trying to find ways to occupy his time.

“It’s kind of crazy,” he added. “I’m about ready to go out the first sunny day and find some mushrooms and dig some ramps. I never get a chance to really.”

He’s also not very confident the kids will get a chance to return to a regular classroom this year either, which would be a first in his 31 years of teaching.

“I’d say our chances have pretty much gone down the tubes since everything got rolled back another 10 days or so into the calendar,” he said. “Our kids (on the track team), you know, they were really upbeat and we had several more kids out this year.

“Before we got the complete shutdown they had gone out and met together and had practices with several of the kids on their own and the seniors had taken over that.”

Obviously, coach Wright noted “just really disappointed for the seniors and other kids. We had some first-year kids and they were really discouraged.

“They were really excited about this year and that was rough and everything. I think everybody in the state is like that way. Most of the people I’m friends with on Facebook are posting old pictures and stories and stuff.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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