Fruitland coach calls it a career


After a legendary run of coaching baseball, the 2019 season will be the last for Fruitland coach Russ Wright as he’ll be retiring from his position, according to Fruitland Athletic Director Beth Holt.

Wright submitted his resignation on Friday, Holt said.

Now a grandfather, Wright said it’s time for him to spend more time with family after coaching baseball since the mid-1980s.

“Now I get to be a grandpa,” Wright said. “I get to do other things. When you’re a coach, you have to be completely invested in it.”

Wright has been the head coach of the Grizzlies since the 2006 season. Since then he led the Grizzlies on a staggering run of eight state championships in 10 years, including four-straight state titles from 2014 to 2017. He also led the Grizzlies to 12 straight Snake River Valley championships from 2006 to 2017.

Before arriving in Fruitland, Wright was the head coach of the baseball team at Treasure Valley Community College for three years. Prior to his time with the Chukars, Wright coached at Minico High School for nine years, where he took his team to the state tournament eight times.

Wright was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2012.

But Wright won’t be too far away from the local baseball scene. Wright said he will continue teaching biology at Fruitland High School and will likely continue to help out with local baseball programs in an assistant capacity.

“I have to find something to do,” Wright exclaimed. “I’ll probably take a break a little bit and hang out with my grandson. But I won’t be able to stay away.”

Wright was also the defensive coordinator for the Fruitland varsity football team.

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