A good man passed away on Jan. 27, loved and beloved by a legion of kids who are now adults with kids and grandkids of their own. His name: Coach Jimmy Wright.
There are tributes to Coach Wright in our Feb. 6 Sports section, written by Sports Editor Josh Briggs and by Johnny Johnson, a former player and longtime friend of Coach Wright. See them at Covnews.com.
When a community leader such as Coach Wright passes, we look in the bound copies of past issues of The Covington News to research their lives.
That's what Briggs did, but there was nothing there to be found on Coach Wright and his many accomplishments. Most noticeable in its absence was any report on Wright's 1965 basketball team at R.L. Cousins High School, the runner-up to the state champion that year.
It was the waning days of the era of segregation, and the coach and the kids from the high school for blacks failed to receive the coverage it was due.
To have such an achievement ignored must have been profoundly painful, given the community celebrations when the then-white school, Newton High, had won a state basketball championship the previous year. Look in our files and you can see and read how proud the Newton community was over the Rams in 1964. A year later, there's nothing about the feat of Coach Wright and his Wolverines.
The Covington News has been a part of this community for 146 years. There have been times that we have stepped up to the plate and hit home runs for our community. Other times, we have struck out. In 1965, we struck out.
We have come a long way since 1965, thanks to leaders like Coach Jimmy Wright. Our leadership is no longer segregated by color, thanks to leaders like the coach and his ball team. They never gave up and they overcame pure prejudice.
In his column, our sports editor noted that sometimes righting a wrong takes longer than it should. He's right.
We owe a lot to Jimmy Wright and his Wolverines. Their perseverance became a rallying point for their community, and because of that, we no longer have a "their" community, it's a "we" community.
Thank you, Coach Wright. You saw the good in people, both white and black, and helped bring our community together.