Wright City High undergoes coaching changes

By: 
Derrick Forsythe
Correspondent

Leadership within the athletic programs at Wright City High School will look drastically different during the 2021-22 school year, following the hiring of new coaches for seven positions. Each of those personnel was promoted from within the district.

Among the changing roles are head football coach, girls track coach, head boys basketball coach, head girls basketball coach, head cross country coach and both head coaching positions for wrestling. 

“We are definitely seeing a lot of change within our programs,” said Activities Director David Evans. “Several coaches are pursuing other opportunities, but we also have a lot of familiar faces filling those roles.”

Tyler Rickard will be taking over the head football coaching job, replacing the departing Jeff Sargent, who will be joining the Fort Zumwalt School District. Rickard has previously been an assistant coach for the Wildcats.

“He is going to move up and run the program,” said Evans. “He has experience in different size schools, and we’re excited to see what he brings to the program.”

Rickard will also take over the girls track team, where he will focus on track events and employ his certification in pole vaulting. 

“We’re hoping to see more crossover from the football boys into the track program,” said Evans. “We’d like to get that revitalized. It’ll be nice to get some of those bigger kids in there for throwing events and speed kids in football can transition over to track, and it can be a workout program where they can also excel.”

The boys basketball program will see the return of Ken Brown as head coach for a second time. The long-time fixture in the district replaces Ryan Benz and will also transition from an assistant varsity football role to the middle school level.

“He’s been in that position before, and we’re excited to get him back in there. The format of high school basketball has changed drastically in past five to 10 years,” said Evans. “It’ll be interesting to see his experience and approach will help the program.”

On the girls side, former assistant Abby Modaff will promote to the role of head girls basketball coach, following the departure of Dan Friedel. 

“She comes from a lot of experience playing at Zumwalt South and Greenville College,” said Evans. “She’s seen success and has been part of program that have achieved at high levels.”

The cross country program will be transitioning leadership from Billy Garrett to the incoming Chris McCullough, a Warrenton graduate and former runner for Maryville University.

“He has a desire to get back into sports through coaching, so he’s excited about taking over the program,” said Evans.

Another enduring name in the district, Fred Ross, has been promoted to the helm of the Wildcat girls wrestling program. He replaces the aforementioned Garrett, who is departing for another district. Joining Ross to coach wrestling will be Andrew Flett, who moves up from the middle school level to lead the boys. 

“We decided to add a second varsity position with the development of the girls program,” said Evans. “Fred comes from a wrestling background and already has relationships established with the athletes, so that really helps.”

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