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Tuesday, March 11, 2003
Wright was assistant coach at '72 Olympics
Associated Press

PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas -- Hoover John Wright, who coached track and field at Prairie View A&M for more than 40 years and led the school's football team to its last winning season, has died. He was 74.

Wright, a member of the school's Sports Hall of Fame, died Friday after what a school official said was a long illness. He had remained employed as coach of the track team, which he led to two NAIA indoor track titles and one outdoor title, along with five Southwestern Athletic Conference championships.

In his tenure as football coach, he led the team to a 6-5 record in 1976. The school eventually scrapped the program briefly, then revived it without scholarships, thus unable to attract top players, and the program set an NCAA-record 80-game losing streak from 1989 to 1998.

Wright also was a passenger in the track team's van when it crashed Feb. 10, 2000, in northeast Texas during a road trip. Four athletes died and the other passengers were badly hurt including Wright, who had broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder and an injured back.

Wright was on the coaching staff of the U.S. National track and field team three times and was an assistant at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

A wake was scheduled for Wednesday, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Bethlehem United Methodist Church in nearby Hempstead. The funeral service was scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at the William J. "Billy" Nicks Building on campus.

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