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June 16, 2017MARYVILLE, Mo.
MARYVILLE, Mo. – The defending NCAA Division 2 National Champion Bearcat football team is still more than a month away from opening fall camp, but that doesn’t mean Rich Wright is taking it slow in his first off-season as a head coach.
“The month of July it will slow down a little bit,” Wright said, “but right now we’re still pedal to the metal.”
While Wright’s only been the head football coach at Northwest Missouri State since late December, he’s already seen major changes within the Bearcat athletic department from his new post. The university broke ground on a new indoor practice facility on the southwest side of campus Thursday.
“It’s immeasurable the impact it’s going to have on our athletics program.”
The new Hughes Family Center will not only be a game-changer for Northwest, but for the city of Maryville as well.
The complex will feature a 100-yard turf practice field for football, soccer, baseball and softball, a 300-meter indoor competition track, spectator seating, and an indoor flooring system. The hope is to make it a community building that can also host graduations, trade shows and more.
“I think it’s symbolic of who we are at Northwest Missouri State, where everybody gives what they can, lifts what they can,” Wright said. “Three years ago we were a long way away from seeing this come to fruition, and today we’re breaking ground.”
As the Northwest campus goes through major changes, Wright’s hoping to keep the Bearcat football program just where it’s at – the top of the mountain in Division 2 football.
The work toward a third straight national championship has already begun. Many of the Northwest football players remained in Maryville for the summer, and continue to build camaraderie during individual workouts.
“I’ve talked to a lot of Division 2 programs, and they’re just starting to figure out the things that we’re doing to stay ahead of the curve. What I’ve challenged our kids to do is to not just to be here, but what are we going to do while we’re here? Don’t just put in time. Let’s get something positive accomplished.”
The full interview with Wright is available below.