Don Wright Sr. Family & Don Wright Jr. Family to be presented the 2016 & 2017 Sports Family of the Year on Sunday, October 29th at 3pm at Bradford Football Stadium.
“For 58 years I have been involved,” says Don Wright Sr. as he fondly recalls his involvement with the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha and CYC Sports, even dating back to the days of the PYC. With son Don Wright Jr. by his side, as he has been his whole life, the two recalled countless sports memories and praised each other for being each other’s support throughout it all.
The Don Wright Sr. Family is being recognized as the 2016 Sports Family of the Year. The award dates back to 1972 as is given to families with a long history of involvement, dedication and commitment to youth sports at the Club. With the Boys & Girls Club celebrating the 25th Anniversary and the Sports Family of the Year celebrating its 45th year, the Club knew selecting the Don Wright Jr. Family as the 2017 Sports Family of Year was the perfect choice to not only honor all Jr. has done for the club but will link the two families together with history.
“He is my best friend,” says Don Wright Sr. about his son. “My favorite memories are when Don was little, he would always come to all the games I would umpire and be on the sidelines watching, paying attention. Now, for the last 17 years I have been on the sidelines watching him be such a gentle giant with the players. The kids love him.”
Don Wright Sr.’s involvement began during the PYC and CYC Sports days when he was 18 years old. He umpired, cut grass, did field maintenance and remembers working for Carol Rickli, Bob Hartman, Steve Mills, and others. Don could also be found playing 5 nights a week in the CYC Sports adult 11” fast pitch, 16” softball and basketball leagues. He recalls very fond memories of playing and umpiring with his four brothers and cousins. However, the most important event in Don’s involvement dates back to 1961 when he met Linda while roller skating at the PYC. Linda and Don married in 1965 and have three kids; Kristi, Dawn and Don. The couple can still be found on sidelines cheering on Don Wright Jr. and the Eagles like they have for the past 17 years.
Don Wright Jr. began volunteer coaching at the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha/CYC Sports in 2000 with the PW Dolphins football team, which included a staff of all family members to help him that first year.
“One of my co-workers mentioned that he was coaching football and said I should get involved. So I did and I was instantly hooked. I coach because I love to interact with players and parents. I like to make kids believe in our program and make them feel they are part of something special,” says Wright Jr. Seventeen years later, Don continues to be a staple of the youth tackle football program, teaching his players not only football skills but life lessons all with a positive attitude. Players respond to his style and often come back years later to visit.
“One of my favorite memories of coaching is when a few players who I coached for four years with the Peewee Dolphins and JR Eagles came back to a practice about four years later with a birthday cake to surprise me on my birthday,” said Wright Jr. “It feels great to know that you are influencing kids and helping them to become great young men and then great adults. Knowing that you might say or do one small thing that makes a huge impact on someone’s life is the reason I coach.”
Don Wright, Jr. credits his wife Stacey for being a great support system to allow him to dedicate his time towards coaching football. Although one can say Stacey is just as dedicated, attending all the games and videotaping them all for Don and his staff to use to continue to develop their team. Stacey and Don have two children, Elizabeth and Donny. Elizabeth is currently a sophomore at Harborside Academy and is involved in Scamps gymnastics. Donny, a seventh grader at K-Tech, has been involved in t-ball, baseball, football and basketball at the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha.
Sports has created a bond among the Wrights that now expand across three generations. This past fall Don Wright Jr. coached the Eagles indoor flag football team, his son’s team. Guess who was part of the team’s coaching staff? That’s right, Don Wright Sr. “There was one game where my dad was being pretty vocal and I had to tell him to relax. I didn’t hear from him for a few days after that,” Don Wright, Jr. says as they both laugh recalling another memory to add to their treasured history.
The Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha is a youth guidance organization dedicated to promoting health, social, educational, vocational, cultural, character and leadership development. The club helps youth improve their lives by building skills, values and self-esteem. Celebrating 25 years serving youth in Kenosha, the club has launched the “$25 for 25 more years” campaign, with proceeds from the fundraiser going to support expansion of free transportation to three additional elementary schools. Those interested in making a donation can visit www.BGCK25for25.org.