Baseball's Wayne Wright: Where Are They Now?
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Baseball's Wayne Wright: Where Are They Now?

With the Lipscomb Athletics Hall of Fame Lunch scheduled for April 30 in Allen Arena  the five new members will be featured, one each week, in the "Where Are They Now?" on lipscombsports.com. Wayne Wright played baseball at Lipscomb and some of the connections he made here persuaded him to move to Pepperdine University where he coached baseball for eight years, before taking over as athletics director.

What years did you play at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?

“I played baseball from 1952 through 1955.

“Axel Swang was the head coach my first year. The next three years the coach was Elvis Sherrill.”

What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?

“I hit a grand slam home run against Florence State in Florence, Alabama my  senior year. I guess that would be the biggest thrill I might have had.”

What was your reaction when you found out you were going to be inducted into the Lipscomb Athletics Hall of Fame?

“It was a surprise. I have won a number of awards, but this means more than any of them I think because I feel so close to the people at Lipscomb.”

Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?

“That is hard to say. Eugene “Fessor” Boyce and Jennings Davis both were very influential in my career. There were a lot of good people there.

“It was just `Fessor’s’ overall demeanor. I remember playing golf with him two or three times. I could hit the ball about 250 yards. `Fessor’ would hit the ball 150 yards, but every ball he hit would be down the middle. He would beat me every time.

“I learned power is not always the greatest thing. You also have to do the little things right.

“Jennings Davis is the greatest man I have ever known. He is so humble, patient, kind and caring. I have known him more since we both went to Pepperdine close to the same time. He still lives out here as well.”

What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?

"Batsell Baxter was the president of Lipscomb. He loved baseball. I skipped his class a lot. One time when I missed class he told the students to tell Mr. Wright if he wanted to pass this class he better start getting more base hits. I guess I did because I got a `C' in his class. That is one of the funniest moments.

"There were so many great times at Lipscomb when I was there."

What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?

"It was just a great foundation that I got from so many great teachers. The Christian influence on my life was so strong.

"Willard Collins baptized me at a gospel meeting at Chapel Avenue Church."

Who was your favorite professor? Why?

"Fessor Boyce was a great teacher. He was my favorite. He was a great man. The younger Batsell Baxter was also a great Bible teacher along with J.P. Sanders.

"I majored in health and physical education. I minored in history. Dr. Howard White was my favorite history teacher. He later became president at Pepperdine and as athletic director I answered directly to him.

"There were so many great teachers. I am indebted to them for the influence they had on me."

Where do you live now?

“San Luis Obispo, California, about three hours north of Los Angeles.”

Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?

"I am retired from Pepperdine University.

"I was the golf coach for four seasons and head baseball coach for eight seasons.

"From 1976-1997 I was Director of Athletics at Pepperdine. We won seven NCAA Division I titles in four different sports."

What factors brought you to Pepperdine?

"Dr. Walter Glass was head of the physical education department at Pepperdine and he called and asked me to come to California. Jennings Davis was the Dean of Students and he encouraged me too. There were a lot of good people there that I knew from Lipscomb like Dr. White and J.P. Sanders.

"The timing was right. I had been teaching six years at Georgia Christian School in Valdosta. When Walter called me I decided to make the move. It was a great decision for me.

"I think what stands out as my greatest memory from Pepperdine is 1992 when we were in Omaha, Nebraska in the College World Series. We went on to win the finals against Cal State-Fullerton (Pepperdine’s first title). To be national champions in baseball in NCAA Division I Is quite a feat."

Tell us about your family.

"Lynn is my wife. I have four daughters and 12 grandchildren. Teresa, one of my daughters, passed away 10 years ago. My other daughters are Linda, Judy and Micki. Linda is married to Steve Joiner at Lipscomb."

My email address is wwnlwright@gmail.com.