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Wright proved to be a wonder with statistics

ASHLAND ­ Harry Wright was known around Ashland High as a scienceand mathematics teacher who attracted students and made learning fun.

Highly regarded for his teaching skills and exacting standards as anAshland High bookkeeper, Wright had a private passion that he didn't talkabout often. Sports.

Wright, 66, who died Thursday at Ashland Community Hospital, became astatistical guru for Ashland High football and basketball teams in the 1960s.His legacy as chief Grizzly sports statistician extended through the early1990s, prior to his retirement as a teacher.

A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Monday at Walter A. Phillips Field.

Wright kept scorebooks for Ashland football coach Jim Nagel and basketballcoach Jerry Hauck.

After a game was over, you couldn't appreciate Harry too much,says Hauck. He would have almost instant statistics for me.

When the 3-point shot came in, Harry perfected a way to chart howmany we shot and made each quarter. He would use different colored pens.

He was just as precise as a chemistry teacher, says Hauck,a 1961 graduate of Ashland High and former three-sport athlete. Iwasn't smart enough to get in his chemistry class, but my wife (Denise Hauck)was.

My wife says he had all of his charts and graphs, and it all hadto be exactly right. He was an amazing guy.

Nagel, Ashland's football coach and athletic director, says he grew toappreciate Wright in many ways.

People around here will remember Harry as a stickler for detailand a man with a warm heart to go with it, says Nagel. He hada great sense of humor.

When we had differences on statistics, almost every time he wouldbe right when we went back and checked on the films, says Nagel.

Wright was fiercely loyal to Ashland High and its athletes and coaches,according to Hauck.

He would ride the officials in his own way when we weren't gettinggood calls, says Hauck. I can't tell you how many times officialscame to me and said they weren't going to take any more from our scorer.

They would come over to say what the call was and he would be shakinghis head no. He was a legend. We all loved him.

Hauck recalled an incident with basketball official Lee Sparks, one ofthe state's top prep officials.

Lee was just fed up with Harry one night, says Hauck. Hecame over and threatened me with a T (technical foul). I got real quietand when he was walking away, I said `He's right.' He told me he would giveme a technical if I said one more word.

Actually, most of the referees liked Harry, says Hauck. Theyjust didn't want him showing them up. But it was hard to give him a technicalbecause all he did was shake his head. He usually didn't say anything.

Hauck says Wright accompanied the Grizzlies basketball team to Reno almostevery year for a Christmas tournament in Sparks, Nev. ``Harry always hada free room to himself and everything he needed, says Hauck. Thatwas his reward for all he did for us.

Bud Silver, athletic director at Ashland High from 1958 through 1981,said Wright cared about students learning thoroughly and having fun at thesame time.

He's one of the finest men I've known, says Silver. Hewas a master teacher and he cared for his students.

When he got involved in keeping statistics for high school sports,he became known as one of the best around. He was a good, honest gentlemanand a friend.