The Wright Choice: Western Illinois introduces its new basketbal - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

The Wright Choice: Western Illinois introduces its new basketball coach

WIU men's basketball coach Billy Wright (right) and athletic director Tommy Bell (left) pose for a photograph following Tuesday's press conference. WIU men's basketball coach Billy Wright (right) and athletic director Tommy Bell (left) pose for a photograph following Tuesday's press conference.
MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) -- The motto is 'All in'. And the goal is to advance to the program's first NCAA Tournament.

Those were Billy Wright's thoughts after he was introduced as the new men's basketball coach at Western Illinois on Tuesday afternoon.

In front of dozens of athletic officials, staff members, fans, and players, Wright took the University Union podium to outline his goals for both the present and the future.

After spending one season on the Ball State staff Wright has returned to Western where he spent five seasons as an assistant.

Only this time the program is his and he's preaching patience.

"We really want to get out there and win right away but it takes time. We have four or five scholarships that we have to fill and we want to fill them with the right character guys to get us in the position to win moving forward," Wright said.

"When I first got here with Coach (Jim) Molinari in 2008 it didn't happen right away and we're kind of in the same position right now. Although everyone is aware of what we're capable of and now we just have to take it to another level."

Wright says he spoke with outgoing head coach Jim Molinari about the position and Molinari gave Wright every reason to think this move makes a lot of sense.

Athletic director Tommy Bell called it a "monumental day in Western Illinois athletics" and says the decision to hire Wright was quick and made with a purpose.

"It is important in (NCAA) Division I basketball that you move aggressive and as quickly as possible," Bell explained.

"Get the right candidate and give your institution, and your coaches, the opportunity (to succeed). For all the work that's been done for one or two years in recruiting you don't want it to fall apart because you waited for a search."

Wright says coming back to Western was a no-brainer.

"It puts me at ease knowing the familiarity with the community and the university. I spent five great years here, then went back closer to home, and when the opportunity came it (felt) great and comfortable."

Another benefit of hiring Wright comes down to the retention of the current players. He was scheduled to meet with the players on Tuesday afternoon and he's confident all of them will return.

Details on Wright's contract were not made available by the WIU athletic department.
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