NEW ERA: Billy Wright Named WIU Men's Basketball Head Coach

Tommy Bell: "Mr. Billy Wright."

Just like that, Western Illinois has found its new men's basketball head coach. Billy Wright will be the new face of the Leatherneck program. The former assistant to departed Jim Molinari says this is the day he's been waiting for after all his hard work.

Billy Wright: "You dream about this day. You have all your X's and O's, you have everything that you've learned, I've learned, in the passed twenty years. Three or four coaches I've worked for, even at the high school level who are state champions. At the collegiate level, obviously for coach Molinari, Jim Whitward. So just picking and choosing and molding my own philosophy. So that's kind of what I immediately started to do then. We're going to go out and recruit."

Tommy Bell: "When I interview him individually it was great. I had a cup of coffee with him in Dallas, Texas, so I picked up on a lot of things really quick before we even did a formal interview this passed weekend. It's exciting to have him here. He's a good fit for a student athletes. He's a great fit for our university."

Wright said he is fired up about getting down to work. And he won't have much time to do it. He plans on going to work right when the day is over.

Wright: "I want to carve out a four-hour radius with recruiting. Anything within four hours, I consider that our backyard and I want to be aggressive within those four hours. But at the same time, I want to be able to go to Texas, go to the west coast, go to the east coast. Right now we're going to focus on the four-hour radius which includes Indianapolis."

Wright's coaching style allows for him to connect with his players on a personal level on and off the court. But he wants to make it clear, it's all business during practice and on game day.

Wright: "Don't mistake kindness for weakness. What I want the guys to understand, we want you to be nice, we want you to be gentlemen, we want you to do all the right things in the community. But at the same time, when that ball goes up, when you cross the court in between those lines, we want you to be aggressive. We want you to be in attack mode and play within the rules of the game, but in the same time have a sense of urgency and aggression the way you play."