COLLEGE PARK, Md. - University of Maryland director of athletics Kevin Anderson announced the hiring of Julie Wright as head coach of the Maryland softball program Friday. Wright, who led Idaho State to three straight Big Sky titles, becomes the fourth head coach in program history.
"We are excited to welcome Julie to our Maryland Athletics family," Anderson said. "She has done a remarkable job at Idaho State, leading the program to three consecutive conference championships. Julie brings outstanding energy and passion to our program. Throughout her accomplished coaching career, she has been committed to successfully developing students both academically and athletically. We are excited to have Julie lead our softball program in the highly competitive Big Ten Conference."
Wright spent the last five seasons as the head coach at Idaho State, accumulating 126 wins in that time. Through Wright's leadership, the Bengals captured Big Sky regular-season championships in the conference's first three seasons sponsoring softball as she secured the most wins in program history (98) in that span.
"I would like to thank Kevin Anderson, Kristen Brown, Damon Evans and the rest of the hiring committee for this amazing opportunity," Wright said. "I am thoroughly impressed with the department Kevin has put together. Maryland Athletics has great momentum moving into the future and I cannot wait to get started. I also want to thank the student-athletes, coaches and fans at Idaho State for their wonderful support."
Wright led the Bengals to new heights as Idaho State student-athletes won the last three conference MVP honors. Wright has seen 34 players earn all-conference honors, and the Bengals boasted the program's first-ever first team Academic All-American in Terah Blackwell, as well as NFCA All-Region team members for the first time.
The Bengals' turnaround began in 2013 as ISU won the first-ever Big Sky regular season title while winning a program record 29 games. The win total was eclipsed a year later when Idaho State finished 35-20. Under Wright, Idaho State has become one of the most potent offensive teams in the nation, posting the fourth-ranked batting average and fifth-ranked scoring in 2014.
Prior to Idaho State, Wright spent four seasons as an assistant and associate head coach at Wisconsin. While with the Badgers, she was primarily responsible for recruitment and scheduling while serving as the team's academic liaison.
Wright served as head coach at Akron for two seasons from 2004-06, leading the team to a 53-52 record and the Zips' first appearance in the Mid-American Conference Tournament in four years.
She also has spent time as an assistant at the University of Kansas (1999-04) and Ohio (1996-99). At Kansas, she was the primary coach offensively and defensively for All-American Christi Musser.
Wright graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor's degree in sociology/criminology and a minor in psychology.
What They're Saying:
"Julie is a wonderful addition to Maryland and the Big Ten. She's an outstanding professional and she will be a great asset to the conference. She's a great hire." -Carol Hutchins, Michigan Head Coach
"Julie is a great motivator. She's a go-getter. She's one of the hardest working collegiate coaches out there. From a recruiting standpoint, she's determined and resilient. She didn't care about the other coaches she had to compete against - she was going to go after the best recruits in the country. I always thought that was the mark of a great coach and a great recruiter. Her players love her. She's a great motivator and teacher. Maryland is getting the whole package with Julie, and I couldn't be more excited for her." -Mike Smith, Mississippi Head Coach