Les Wright
Les Wright
Title: Director of Athletic Facilities & Fields
Phone: (904) 256-7410
Email: lwright2@ju.edu

Les Wright begins his 13th season at Jacksonville University and third as the Director of Athletic facilities & fields .

Wright is in charge of the maintenance for all of the Dolphins athletic facility playing surfaces as well as any construction improvements to the stadiums. In 2012, he helped oversaw the overhaul of the JU football locker rooms.

Prior to the position, Wright was served two tours of duty on the JU baseball coaching staff. He was a versatile member of the staff, assuming such roles as defense (2000-03), pitching coach (2004-05), volunteer assistant (2006-08) and director of baseball operations (09-10).

After earning his fifth championship ring with the staff in 2007, Wright continued to bring his expertise with the Dolphin catchers as a volunteer assistant. He also resumed his duties with team travel, operations and fund raising.

In 2008, Wright was instrumental in the dual leadership behind the dish with senior Donnie Vickers and sophomore Brad Simmons. The duo helped pave the way for the Dolphins' commanding pitching performance in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, which gave the JU squad an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Through five games, the staff allowed 23 runs (21 earned) for an ERA of 4.30 compared to 5.86 for its opponents. At one point, the staff allowed only one run in 22 innings of work while the starting rotation chewed up 32.2 innings out of a possible 44.

In 2006, Wright did a tremendous job in the development of Simmons, who was pressed into duty right out of the gate due to injuries. Simmons, who was named to the A-Sun all-freshman team, led the squad by gunning down 36 percent of base runners trying to steal during the year. The duo of Simmons and Vickers also helped conduct a pitching staff which posted the fifth-best winning percentage (.693) in program history, the lowest ERA (4.19) since 1995 and JU's first All-America selection as a pitcher (sophomore Matt Dobbins) since Casey Shumaker in 2001.

As the pitching coach in 2005, junior Kyle DeVries enjoyed a break-out season with a 9-3 record and a 4.15 ERA in 15 starts, en route to second team all-A-Sun honors. Freshman pitcher Brock Schnabel was named to the conference all-freshman team after ranking third in the conference with a 2.67 ERA during conference play. Senior pitcher Neal Frontz was selected in the 24th round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and signed a major league contract. Senior reliever Hunter Davis finished fourth in the JU career record book in saves (11) despite only playing one season. Davis finished with a 1.53 ERA, 23 strikeouts and a .219 opponent batting average in 17 appearances, while converting 11-of-12 saves.

In his first season as the Dolphins' pitching coach, Wright helped staff ace Dennis Robinson develop into one of the top pitchers in the nation. Robinson won 13 games, which ranked second nationally at the conclusion of the regular season, and earned first team all-conference honors. Converted outfielder Chris Kelly recorded three saves during his first season on the mound and was drafted in the 46th round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Following a successful summer in the Cape Cod Summer League, Robinson signed a free agent contract with the Baltimore Orioles.

In addition to his duties as pitching coach, Wright assisted with the offense and plans all team travel, while still playing a large role in fund raising and monitoring the Dolphins' progress in the classroom. Wright also plays a major role in coordinating the annual JU Baseball Auction & Gala, the program's largest community-wide fundraiser.

Wright rejoined the staff as a full-time coach in 2002 after spending one season as a volunteer assistant in 1999, during which the Dolphins went 41-23, won the A-Sun Championship and advanced to the NCAA Regionals in Tallahassee.

In 2003, the Dolphins' defense ranked second in the A-Sun with 54 double plays. JU played some of its best defense when it counted, turning 11 double plays in the conference tournament en route to the A-Sun Championship. Wright also guided second baseman Robby Cichra to the third-highest fielding percentage in the A-Sun among everyday second basemen, while freshman Gordie Gronkowski finished fifth among first basemen. Wright also guided Cichra to the highest fielding percentage among conference shortstops in 2002.

Wright spent a year in Atlanta before returning in 2001 as JU's director of baseball operations, when he assisted with promotions and group tickets sales.

Prior to coaching at JU, Wright was an assistant coach at Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville from 1982-98. During his tenure at Terry Parker, he helped lead the Braves to the 1991 State Championship and three Final Four appearances.

A lifelong resident of Jacksonville, Wright played his collegiate ball at Florida Community College at Jacksonville.