Inside Leatherneck Athletics • Billy Wright

I’m Bo Spencer, voice of the Leathernecks and I’m joined the 20th Head Coach at Western Illinois University in the Men’s Basketball program, new Head Coach, Billy Wright Billy was hired last week and it’s been a process here, five years at Western Illinois University In your playing and coaching career what are some of the things that you’ve picked up along the way that you’ll instill into the WIU Men’s basketball program? I think for the most part, it’s kind of what I talked about when I first got the job at the press conference, the all in model and it’s being the best person you can be, being the best student you can be, be the best basketball player you can be. And with the basketball component I always want them to play hard, play smart, play together as a unit. So I’ve learned as a player you can’t do it all by yourself. Not one guy is bigger than the program. It takes two minutes a lot of hard work, sacrifice and determination to win a championship and I will definitely bring that here When you came back to the introductory press conference a lot of you colleagues were there, a lot of the community was back to support you. What was it like to see such support at your press conference? It was definitely a great feeling to see the support and I really appreciate that. First class, you know Tommy Bell, the athletic administration did a great job of setting everything up. They took care of my wife, my son, you know, we were taken care of from the time we arrived in Macomb, hopefully to my entire career here. At the same time, you know it was great and we really appreciate the fans support and it felt just like a long weekend, you know, I was away for a little under eleven and a half months and you know i literally still had some stuff in boxes that I hadn’t unpacked. You know thinks happen for a reason, and I’m glad I was in the right place at the right time. It’s good to be back. What was so attractive about this Western Illinois Men’s Basketball coaching position? Just being familiar, familiar from the top down, from the administration all the way down to the players. The majority of the players that are currently on this roster I had a hand in directly or indirectly recruiting them so it just felt so comfortable coming back to me a really really great opportunity to be a head coach, it’s few and far between. You know, there’s guys in this business who their entire career, are assistant coaches.So when I had the opportunity I jut jumped on it right away. Now that you’ve begun to put your fingerprint on this Leatherneck Basketball program, you ‘ve talked to the players, you’ve hit the recruiting trail really hard how has that transition gone here in the first week and a half of taking over as the head coach? Well, it’s pretty much consumed a lot of what we’ve been doing a lot of the last week. I’ve been on the job eight days I do believe and it’s just recruiting,recruiting, recruiting we had a staff meeting yesterday and talked about just being you know recruiting, player development – and player development involves our own players that are currently here on campus. Being in tune with their academics being in tune with their development in the weight room Being in tune with their needs as we finish up these last two, three weeks of school. So those are the two things that I hit them on right away. We have to recruit, we have a few scholarships available, we signed two kids, we’ll announce that here shortly, but here at the same time we stillhave a long ways to go, you know, the roster was a little depleted to be quite honest but the current roster and the players that we have are really good The culture is right, the locker room is right now we just have to get the talent to take it to the next level. When fans come out to Western Hall for the 2014 2015’s season, what should fans expect to see, what style basketball will fans see out of the Leathernecks Program? Well, they’ll definitely see a lot of hard nosed huff, enthusiastic team. I mean the 50-50 balls the loose balls, you know we want to get every single one, you know especially at home.We want to be tough. I call it competitive toughness. I want them to be good young men. I want them to be respectful off the court. When the ball goes up I want them to be competivie toughness, set solid screens, get that rebound, and then obviously when we get a steal, I want you to go score. Lastly, what message would you tell Western Illinois Basketball fans for the upcoming 2014-2015 season? I would just tell them that you know, it’s definitely a new era and guys like Ciella Clark, Terrill Clark, Jack Howell, Billy Molinary, Don Macelvoy, Adam Lien, Michael Parevio, Remmy, you know those guys, we knew that it was going to have to bridge the gap a little bit. and right now with the roster the way it is again, you know, I took the job and there’s only six players, and two of them were hurt – so I would tell the fans, you know – be a little patient and we’re going to recruit our butts off, we’re going to really be aggressive, we’re going to really get out there andhit the recruiting trail. and when we put the puzzles in the right place, they’ll be happy with the product. Coach, thanks so much for joining us. Again congratulations That’s the 20th head coach in Western Illinois’s Men’s Basketball Program history. Billy Wright. For more on Leathernecks Basketball visit and you can follow coach Wright on Twitter @ BillyWrightWIU I’m host Spencer Thompson, voice of the Leathernecks. Thanks for watching.

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