(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is Part 1 of a two-part interview with Culver City High head football coach Jahmal Wright)
By Fred Altieri
I’m a 1995 graduate of Culver City High School, was a three-time All-League defensive back and played on three league championship teams here during the ’92, ’93 and ’94 seasons.
I received a full football scholarship and played for five years at the University of Kansas. I came back with my degree and started coaching in the fall of 2000.
My first year as head football coach for Culver City High was in 2009 and I’m going into my fifth year. I started off as a DB coach and JV defensive coordinator and worked my way up as a defensive coordinator and assistant head coach in 2005.
I became the offensive coordinator in 2008. This is my 13th year here coaching at Culver City High School. I’m also been a P.E. teacher here since 2004. Before that I served as a substitute teacher for three years fresh out of college before I got my teaching credentials.
I’m also the defensive coordinator as well and am constantly in contact with the offensive coordinator. We also have the position coaches. The command comes from the top. The coordinators give instructions to the position coaches and the position coaches relay all the information down to the players.
My staff is filled with a lot of ex-Centaur graduates. My offensive coordinator is Aki Wilson. He’s also a 1995 graduate of Culver City High School and my best friend.
We played together here with those three league championships. He’s the 2nd all-time leading rusher in Culver City history. He got a full scholarship to Howard University and played as a receiver.
My receiver coach is Tyrone Justin. He’s a 2007 graduate from Culver City High. He got a scholarship to Washington State University, got his degree and is back coaching.
My offensive line coach is Ryan Hardy. He is a 2008 graduate from Culver City High and was an all-league, all-CIF player.
My quarterback coach is Reginald Haynes. Coach Haynes has also been the head JV coach and has been on staff for six seasons.
Rounding out my offensive staff is Mike Levy. Coach Levy was a former head freshman coach here at Culver City High and is also a history teacher at the Culver City Middle School. This is his fourth year on staff.
Brandon Patterson is our defensive line coach, a 2005 graduate from Culver City High and was a first team all-league, first team All-CIF football player. He just finished playing defensive line for Louisiana Tech University and graduated with his degree in sociology. This year will be his first year coaching on the staff.
We have Tom Crump as our inside linebackers coach. This is his 7th year on the coaching staff. The outside linebackers coach is Cornell Myles and this is Cornell’s 20th year on the coaching staff.
In the secondary the cornerback coach is Khary Crump. This is his 7th year on the coaching staff. The safety coach is Anthony Thomas and this is his third year on the staff.
Anthony is a 1997 graduate from Culver City High, played defensive back and was a first team all-league selection. He played cornerback at the University of Cincinnati and also played in the Canadian Football League with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Greg Goodyear is our kicking coach. He’s very instrumental because special teams are a big part of what we do as well. Derrick Huezo is our head freshman coach, is also instrumental with the defense, helps out with the defensive backs and actually goes up in the bird’s nest on Friday nights. He’s whom I communicate with on the headphones about what’s going on during the games on the field.
Concerning the new field that we have, our school district did a great job in getting this project going for us. We’re very excited about going from a natural grass field to a synthetic turf field with new bleachers. Normally when you play on turf you’re a little bit faster and you can change directions a little bit better. So I think it will add to what we do well.
I’m just excited about the opportunity to have a new season. There’s a lot of optimism. There’s a buzz. And there should be. I’m hoping and praying that everybody gets behind us and the city comes out and supports us so when we hit that field it’s all of Culver City behind us, going to battle with us.