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Owls take on FIU on Thursday
2013-14 Year in Review
FAU Opens the 2014 Season at Nebraska, Aug. 30
First Scrimmage is at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 22
2013 - Florida Atlantic University (Associate Head Coach/OC)
2013 - Florida Atlantic University Interim Head Coach
2012-13 - Florida Atlantic University (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
2009-11 - Montana State (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
2005-09 - Youngstown State (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
2001-04 - Youngstown State (Assistant Coach/Quarterbacks)
1999-00 - Walsh (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
1998 - Walsh (Assistant Coach/WR)
1997 - Youngstown State (Graduate Assistant/WR)
1995-96 - Walsh University (Graduate Assistant)
Bowl/Post-Season Games Coached
2011 - FCS Playoff Quarterfinalist (Montana State)
2010 - FCS Playoff Quarterfinalist (Montana State)
2006 - FCS Playoff Semifinalist (Youngstown)
1997 - FCS National Champions (Youngstown)
Wide Receiver, College of Wooster
Born: Goldsboro, NC
Hometown: Wooster, Ohio
Education: Bachelor of Arts, College of Wooster (1994); Master of Arts, Walsh University (1998)
Marital Status: Wife, Laura
Family: Jake (11), Marielle (8), Joseph (5)
Brian Wright came to FAU in January of 2012 and was elevated to Interim Head Coach in October of 2013. Upon the hiring of Charlie Partridge, Wright elected to stay with the program to build what he had begun as FAU's offensive coordinator. He was named Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach by Partridge in December of 2013.
As the Interim Head Coach, Wright drew the team together "realizing it was about the team, the family and being better men" to capture the four-consecutive games, including a victory over Tulane who would earn a New Orleans' Bowl berth at season's end. Wright's reign as interim head coach came to an end with a perfect 4-0 record and the team becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2008. FAU's offense, led by sophomore quarterback Jaquez Johnson, outscored its last four opponents 151-40, averaged 428.8 yards per game, including a single-game average 240.5 yards on the ground. Defensively, the Owls finished the regular-season ranked No. 11 nationally and with a program record 32 single-season sacks---up from an average of one per game in 2012. Half of the sacks, 16, were recorded in the team's last four games.
Wright accepted the added responsibility as head coach much like he had attacked the task of building an offensive coaching staff upon coming to FAU in 2012 and the task of converting FAU to an up-tempo attack as opposed to the pro-style which had been the Owls' mainstay since inception. To make his task more difficult, he had to do so with just three-starting newcomers returning. By game two the starting quarterback position was solidified. Wright and the offensive staff made great strides by playing to the strengths of each individual and not forcing or sticking to one answer. It began with the quarterbacks. In 2012, senior QB Graham Wilbert improved his efficiency by 68% moving from 91.72 as a junior to 134.62 as a senior. He reduced his interceptions to six after tossing double-digits in 2011. More importantly for the team, Wilbert spread the ball to eight different receivers for a score after tossing just seven touchdowns the previous season. Wright's system allowed Wilbert to look for answers all over the field which opened the door for the senior to have career games with a season high 403 passing-yards against in-state rival FIU. He used the knowledge of the new system to hurt opponents with the short pass while also finding receivers with 50, 60 and 75 yard passes. Protecting the quarterback was a key to the team's success. FAU was T-104 nationally in sacks allowed prior to Wright's arrival. They improved that rank by 21 spots in 2012 providing more options for the offense to work. To off-set this loss of NFL draftee Alfred Morris, Wright and the offense saw seven individuals carry the ball more than once and not one ended the season with negative yardage and as a unit, they tallied just 38 yards less than the previous season with a dominate running back. Much of that success can be attributed to fewer sacks eliminating the negative 179 yards lost by the previous season's quarterbacks. To exemplify the total improvement, FAU moved up 22 spots in the national ranking for total yards by improving its average yards per game by 102 yards per game.
Since coming to FAU in 2012, Wright has improved the Owls' total offensive ranking nationally from its season ending 120, out of 123 schools, to a No. 83 spot at the end of the 2013 regular-season. In 2011 the Owls finished with a national rank of 119 in scoring offense. By 2013 that rank had climbed 40 spots to No. 79, including the use of 12 different scoring options. The most prolific was Johnson who rushed for 10 touchdowns, the most of any quarterback in the history of FAU. He was responsible for 22 scores in 2012 which list him among the program's top-10 all-time career scorers with two remaining seasons to play.
In 2013, Wright led the Owls to their third-consecutive season averaging 20+ points per game. FAU has had a similar span from 2007-2009 and played in two bowl games during that stretch but did so under two different coordinators. Wright’s up-tempo offense was directed by second year starter Jaquez Johnson, who much like his first season under center, concluded his campaign ranked nationally in 14 categories, including No. 56 nationally in passing efficiency. Johnson, will play his final season in 2014 and is in position to break nearly every FAU quarterback record and is listed in 3-of-5 rushing all-time categories. Wright also had the opportunity to see Lucky Whitehead flourish in 2014. The senior receiver led C-USA in receptions and was No. 18 nationally in all-purpose yards. Johnson and Whitehead’s ability to connect and the team’s scoring success can be attributed to its ground game. Under Wright’s direction the team has averaged 154.6 rushing yards per game. Using multiple backs, the Owls set an all-time program high 2,225 yards in 2013 and tallied the program’s second most in 2014 with 1,963.
At Montana State
Brian Wright spent his first two seasons at Montana State debunking the notion that the transition to a new offensive system is inherently difficult. Wright's two Bobcat offenses, led by dynamic quarterback DeNarius McGhee, averaged 440.6 yards per game, easily the most productive two-year span in school history. After leading the Big Sky in scoring offense, total offense and passing offense in 2010, Wright's unit topped the league in scoring offense and total offense in Big Sky games in 2011. Wright handed the reigns, in his first season at MSU, to redshirt freshman quarterback McGhee, who was named Big Sky Offensive Co-MVP, a first at MSU since 1984, and National Freshman of the Year by one organization.
At Youngstown State
Wright transitioned to Montana State after nine years at perennial FCS power Youngstown State University. Wright joined the Penguins' staff in 2001 as quarterbacks coach, also working as offensive coordinator from 2005-09. Wright helped engineer record-setting offenses at Youngstown State, with the team winning two Gateway Conference championships and advancing to the 2006 FCS final four.
He returned to Walsh where he first began working with wide receivers (1998) and was then elevated to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach where he served from 1999-00.
At Youngstown State
Wright served as an offensive GA at Youngstown State in 1997 where his primary responsibilities focused with the National Champion Youngstown Penguins' receivers.
He worked as a graduate assistant at Walsh University from 1995-96.
Wright began his coaching career as a collegiate senior, following a career-ending leg injury (1994).
Professional Players Coached
Marcus Mason (Washington Redskins - Free Agent)
Donald Jones (Buffalo Bills - Free Agent)
Mike Person (San Francisco 49ers - 6th round)
Elvis Akpla (Philadelphia Eagles - Free Agent)
Kyle Smith (NFL Europe Berlin Thunder)
Updated December 6, 2013