When the Hickman football team won the 2004 Class 6 state championship, the Kewpies’ defense allowed only 54.1 yards and 8.1 points per game. The man in charge of that unit was defensive coordinator Jason Wright.
On Friday, Wright was elevated to head coach, succeeding the departed Gregg Nesbitt. After spending 14 years as an assistant, the past seven at Hickman, Wright will be a head coach for the first time. Athletic Director Doug Mirts, however, chose to look past Wright’s lack of experience as a head coach.
“He’s ready to be a head coach,” Mirts said. “He’s an outstanding individual and he’s proven that he’s a very detailed coach. Mr. Wright is what you want as a role model.”
Nesbitt, the man Wright is replacing, said he thinks that hiring Wright will allow Hickman football to proceed without an interruption. For the last 13 seasons, Nesbitt was the head coach at Hickman, compiling a 95-44 record. In those 13 seasons, Hickman won seven district championships to go with the 2004 state title.
“There was no reason for us not to promote from within,” Nesbitt said. “Jason has a great feel for every thing we do. This will make for the smoothest transition for the players, coaches and parents.”
Wright said that Nesbitt’s influence will be felt even though he is no longer coaching.
“He’s given me advice as far as how to deal with parents, kids and the other coaches,” Wright said. “But some of those things I’ve got to learn about myself.”
MU BASEBALL: The Tigers scored in the top of the 12th inning and held on for a 6-5 win Saturday against Texas A&M in College Station, Texas. Trailing in the ninth, Missouri scored four runs to take a 5-4 lead, before surrendering the tying run to the Aggies in the bottom half of the inning.
Brock Bond scored the winning run on a wild pitch. Designated hitter Zane Taylor collected four hits for the Tigers and Evan Frey went 3-for-6, extending his hitting streak to seven games.
Missouri opened up its Big 12 Conference season on Friday against the Aggies with a 3-1 victory behind pitcher Nathan Culp, who recorded eight strikeouts on his way to improving his record to 5-1.
Junior Max Scherzer was scratched from his start because of tightness in his bicep. His return is a day-to-day decision.
NASCAR: Carl Edwards finished 24th in Saturday’s Busch Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Jeff Burton passed Matt Kenseth with 20 laps left then beat runner-up Kasey Kahne to the finish line by 1.42 seconds.
Blown right rear tires brought out three of the six caution flags in the race, with Edwards (the defending race winner), Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman all seeing their cars torn up badly by the blowouts.
Greg Biffle was third, followed by Kenseth, who fell out of contention after losing the lead.
Edwards dropped to seventh in the Busch point standings, 158 behind leader Kevin Harvick.
Edwards qualified 18th for today’s Golden Corral 500, the Nextel Cup race to be held on the same track. Kasey Kahne has the pole.
COLUMBIA COLLEGE SOFTBALL: The Cougars won three games Saturday in a tournament at William Woods, beating Baker (Kan.) 2-1, York (Neb.) 3-1 and Minnesota-Morris 18-1 in five innings.
Rachel Brawner, Columbia College’s freshman first baseman, hit her first career home run against Baker with a two-run shot in the first inning. In the three games, Stephanie Stowe collected five hits in seven at-bats, including two runs, four RBIs and two doubles. Miriam Wegmann had six hits in 10 at-bats, scored five runs and had two RBIs and two stolen bases.
The Cougars improved to 9-10.
MU TENNIS: The Tigers ended a two-match road trip with a 7-0 loss at Colorado on Saturday. Missouri (6-6, 0-5 Big 12 Conference) won 6-1 at Air Force on Friday.
Hana Kraftova, the Tigers’ No. 1 singles player, missed her third consecutive match with a back injury. Amanda Pratzel and Chrissy Svetlic won at No. 3 doubles against Colorado, but the Tigers lost the doubles point.