College hockey: American International coach Gary Wright retires after 32 years
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – After 32 years at the helm of the men’s ice hockey program, Gary Wright has resigned as head coach at American International College, director of athleyics Matthew Johnson announced.
“My time at AIC has been enormously enriched by the people I’ve worked with on campus, our assistant coaches and the players I’ve coached. And by my coaching colleagues on the other bench. It has often been said that playing college hockey helps make college the best four years of your life. For me, that association extended to nearly forty years. I only wish that my record had been better. Otherwise, it has been a wonderful run, with few regrets,” commented Wright.
Wright, along with Red Berenson of Michigan, was the longest tenured head coach in all of Division I and eclipsed the 300-win plateau during the 2013-14 season with a 2-1 victory over Army West Point.
Along with his win total of 313 games, Wright coached some impressive teams during his time on the bench with the Yellow Jackets, including capturing the ECAC East Championship during the 1989-90 campaign.
Wright was also instrumental in AIC’s jump to Division I status at the start of the 1998-99 season, becoming a charter member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and later the Atlantic Hockey Association. He was named MAAC Hockey League Coach of the Year leading AIC to an 11-14-4 record in their first season as a Division I program.
AIC is well known for recruiting respectable young men, who work hard on the ice and in the classroom. Wright’s team achieved a perfect Academic Progress Rate (APR) of 1000 during the 2014-15 campaign and has a four-year average of 993. This past winter, AIC was also awarded the Atlantic Hockey Team Sportsmanship Award for the third consecutive season and fourth time overall under Wright’s guidance.
AIC’s Athletic Director Matthew Johnson shared, “Gary Wright has done things the right way for 32 years. He recruited students of high character and prepared them to be productive members of society after college. He has mentored hundreds of players, instilling sound moral and ethical principles on a daily basis through his own actions. Gary is well respected on campus, within the Atlantic Hockey Conference and throughout the country. He has been a tremendous ambassador for the game of hockey and American International College for more than three decades. We will deeply miss Gary and wish him nothing but health and happiness as he enters a new chapter of his life.”