Cleve Wright returns for his fourth season in charge of the Miami women's basketball program. Wright came to the RedHawks after a very successful 11-year run at Gannon that featured five NCAA Tournament appearances and two runs to the Elite Eight.
Wright holds a career coaching record of 257-166. His young Miami team last year saw 94 percent of all its available minutes played by freshman and sophomores. Despite that the RedHawks were 6-5 in non-conference play. Injuries and inexperience caught up with the team in MAC play as it finished 9-21, but now with several veterans, combined with a powerful recruiting class joining them, Wright has the RedHawks ready to take the next step this season.
Wright won 70 percent of his games at Gannon (233-100), turning the Lady Knights into a Division II powerhouse. In his final season there in 2013, he led Gannon to a 31-5 record and an appearance in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. The team finished the season ranked sixth in the country. Wright brought the Lady Knights to the NCAA Tournament in five of the his last seven seasons, with his best year coming in 2009-10 when he was named the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year after guiding them to a 37-1 record and an NCAA Final Four appearance. He coached seven All-Americans and 37 all-conference selections.
Gannon's women's basketball program was extremely successful in the classroom as well under Wright. The Lady Knights were ranked among the top 25 teams in GPA in eight of his final nine years. In addition, 70 players earned all-conference academic honors. Wright joined Gannon after a three-year stint (1999-2002) as the top assistant at Northwestern under head coach June Olkowski. While with the Wildcats, he was responsible for the development of the post players and was the team's recruiting coordinator. His recruiting class in 2001 was rated as the 35th-best in the entire nation by All Star Girls Report, and he was voted as one of the top 25 assistant coaches in Division I in 2002.
Prior to his time at Northwestern, Wright spent two seasons as an assistant coach with Olkowski at Butler. He also spent four seasons (1993-97) as the head coach at Southwestern High School in Somerset, Ky., and was an assistant coach at Duke during the 1992-93 season.
Wright earned his bachelor's degree from Berea College (Kentucky) in 1989. He competed on both the men's basketball and track teams, while serving as a student assistant coach for the women's team. He earned a master's degree in athletic administration from Ball State in 1992, working as a graduate assistant coach there for two seasons (1990-92).
Wright served as a NCAA Division II representative to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Board of Directors from 2010-13. He has worked with the WBCA in various capacities over his entire career.
Wright is married to the former Diane McKinley. They have two daughters, Chloe (20), who is a sophomore at Miami, and Emma (17).