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Head Coach

Rich Wright

Rich Wright
Head Coach

  • Named the 20th head coach of Northwest football on Dec. 19, 2016
  • Served six seasons as the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach
  • Joined the staff in 2004 as the defensive line and special teams coordinator.
  • 2014 and 2015 ProGrass Division II Coordinator of the Year
  • Team has won nine MIAA titles, four NCAA titles and appeared in eight national championship games since 2004.
  • Since arriving at Northwest, the Bearcats have gone 163-22 overall and 119-10 in MIAA games.
  • Earned his masters from Northwest in 1996.

At Northwest

Richard Wright was named head coach at Northwest Missouri on Dec. 19, 2016. He arrived at Northwest in 2004 as the defensive line coach and coordinator of special teams. In 2011, Wright was named defensive coordinator and assistant head coach.

The Bearcats' 2015 national championship featured one of the most well rounded defensive units in history. Northwest led the nation in six categories including total defense, scoring defense, team sacks, rushing defense, team passing efficiency defense and third-down conversion percentage defense. The team finished atop the MIAA in 15 defensive categories as well, leading to six first-team All-MIAA selections. Collin Bevins earned the third-consecutive MIAA Defensive Player of the Year award for the Bearcats, setting school records in sacks (15.5) and tackles for loss (26.5).

One of the most dominant defenses at any level of football could be found under Wright in 2014. The Bearcats led the nation in total defense and were ranked second in rushing defense, team pass efficiency defense and third down conversion defense. Northwest ranked third in first down defense, fourth in passing yards allowed and fifth in scoring defense. Five Bearcat defensive players earned first team All-MIAA honors including Matt Longarcre who was named the MIAA Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and 2014.

In 2013, Wright’s defense was ranked ninth in the NCAA in total defense, allowing just 292.5 yards per game. The Bearcat defense led the MIAA defensively in pass yards allowed, sacks, pass efficiency defense, turnovers gained, third down percentage defense, blocked kicks, blocked punts and total defense.

The 2012 Bearcat defense was nothing short of spectacular, ranking among the nation’s elite in scoring defense (second), turnover margin (third), pass efficiency defense (seventh), pass defense (12th) and total defense (17th).

In his first season as the defensive coordinator, Josh Lorenson became the 10th All-America defensive lineman to play under Wright. The 2011 season also saw his defensive unit hold opponents under 100 yards rushing four times and under 100 yards passing three times.

Northwest tied for the most sacks in the nation in 2009 when 19 Bearcats combined for 48 sacks. Former player and current graduate assistant Kendall Wright enjoyed one of the most decorated seasons as a return specialist in 2008, earning All-America accolades.

Three former players have been on NFL rosters, Longacre, Dave Tollefson and Steve Williams. Each have spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs, Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots. Tollefson is a two-time Super Bowl Champion earning his first ring with the New York Giants in 2007 and again following the 2011 season.

Prior to Northwest

Wright began coaching during the 1991 season at Cortland State before spending time at Dana College (Neb.) from 1993-94. Covering several facets of coaching, Wright has been an offensive coordinator, linebackers coach, wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator.


A native of Hamilton, N.Y., Wright earned his bachelor’s degree at Dana College in 1995 and his master’s at Northwest in 1996. Wright resides in Maryville with his wife, Sarah, who is also a Northwest alum, and their daughters, Grace and Kate.