James Madison hires former Clemson linebacker as assistant coach

Courtesy: Clemson Tigers

HARRISONBURG, Va. – James Madison Head Coach Mike Houston finalized his coaching staff for the 2018 season with the hiring of Corico Wright (pronounced Cuh-REE-coe) as the program’s cornerbacks coach.

“I’ve been very impressed with Corico since I began talking to him,” Houston said. “He comes highly recommended from coaches who I trust, and when we met him in person, he was very detailed, knowledgeable and thorough with his understanding of football and coaching. I felt he was going to be a great fit for our staff personality-wise and will be a great leader for our cornerbacks. I really like the way he comes across as a person and we’re extremely fortunate to have someone like him joining our program.”

“What made JMU the right fit for me was the people,” Wright said. “The people were really nice and everyone was smiling. It was a family feel for me, not to mention the campus and area are very nice. That was the first thing that gravitated to me about the job.”

Wright joins the Dukes after coaching the past two seasons at Murray State where he held the same title. During his time with the Racers, he guided D’Montre Wade to a pair of All-Ohio Valley Conference honors, as well as Second Team All-America accolades in 2017. The All-America nod came after Wade led the OVC with six interceptions.

His primary roles outside of leading the Murray cornerbacks included the weekly defensive passing game plan and assisting with all special teams units. His secondary ranked sixth in the nation in interceptions and 23rd in pass defense in 2017.

“I bring a lot of energy, a lot of fire and a lot of passion to the cornerbacks group. I’ve heard great things about them and I’m going to challenge them and push them to keep playing at a high level.”

Prior to Murray State, Wright spent three seasons at his alma mater, Clemson, where he was a defensive graduate assistant on Dabo Swinney’s staff. Wright worked with the secondary under defensive backs coach Mike Reed and was in charge of the defensive game plans and breakdowns while also assisting in the daily operations of the defense.

As a player for the Tigers from 2009-12, Wright tallied 200 career tackles, to go with 17.0 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, two pass breakups and one fumble recovery in his 52 games (26 starts). He was an Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Honor Roll member and was twice Clemson’s third-leading tackler, accounting for more than 150 tackles between his sophomore and junior seasons.

“The biggest thing [Coach Swinney] taught me was believing,” Wright said. “He really instilled the element of belief in everybody, from the janitorial staff to the highest-paid coach on staff. You have to continue to develop that within your room and within your team. You have to believe in yourself, in your team collectively and the things your coach asks you to do.”

“Coach Swinney and I know each other and I believe he tries to run his program the way I try to run ours,” Houston said. “The things that are important there are the same things that are important here. To have someone from that background will help much more with how he fits into our culture here. Coach Swinney personally reached out to me about Corico and so I value that a lot.”

As a player and coach at Clemson, Wright was part of eight bowl games, winning five of them. He won the 2009 Music City Bowl and 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl as a student-athlete and also played in the Orange Bowl and Meineke Car Care Bowl. During his coaching tenure at his alma mater, the program won a pair of Orange Bowls and the Russell Athletic Bowl while also reaching the College Football Playoff National Championship against Alabama in his final season at Clemson.

Wright additionally served as a Bill Walsh Minority Intern with the New York Jets in 2014.

A native of Milledgeville, Ga., Wright graduated from Clemson in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in athletic leadership. He later earned his master’s degree in human resource development from Clemson in 2015.

Wright replaces Tripp Weaver, who left for a similar position at Western Carolina. Wright’s first day on campus will be Monday, March 12.

“I wasn’t sure if we’d have a full staff before we started spring, but it worked out that we do,” Houston said. “I’m excited about this staff, it’s extremely strong and that will be a tremendous asset for our team. We have a lot of players who we’re going to develop this spring and we’ll keep the program running in the manner we’re accustomed to. I’m excited to get started next week with spring practice and see what 2018 holds.”

Corico Wright Coaching File

Five years of coaching experience
Four-year letter winner at Clemson
Part of two ACC championships (one as a player, one as a coach)
Played and coached in multiple Orange Bowls and the College Football Playoffs
Other bowl appearances included Music City Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl and Chick-Fil-A Bowl

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