Schmidt, Wright complete legacy


Johnny Staley, Staff Writer

Richard Wright and Bonita Schmidt have been coaching cross country here at Baldwin since a gallon of gas cost less than $1.25, but they have decided to end their coaching careers after this season.
Wright began coaching in 1986 and Schmidt began in 1994.
The duo was very successful, with winning seasons almost every year during their tenure. Also, the team has qualified for states multiple times. Many runners have gone on to run in college, with the most recent being Casey Conboy, who is a freshman at Duquesne.
“I’m going to miss being around and teaching all of the kids on the team,” said Wright, who is also retiring as long distance coach for the track team here at Baldwin.
Wright said the reason for his retirement is to be with family. His son and grandson live on the other side of the state, and he doesn’t want to miss out on any more family time with them.
Schmidt’s reasoning for retirement is similar.
“I feel that it is time for me to spend more time with my family since I am retired” from her nursing job, she said.
Schmidt also has battling bone cancer for the past five years, so her health played a role in the decision.
“It’s bittersweet for all of us that they’re leaving,” senior Jack Mezeivtch said. “But it’s good for them to have time to relax and be with their families.”                                                                                              Schmidt and Wright both made sure to be more than coaches for the athletes during their tenures, Mezeivtch said.
“They care about a lot more than running. They care about us individually as people and treat us like family,” Mezeivtch said.
The coaching duo believe that whoever is going to be hired to lead the cross country team will be capable of doing the job.
“I trust that the people in charge of hiring someone to replace us will pick someone who loves and reveres their athletes as much as we do, and who is willing to put forth the endless hours of devotion to helping them be better athletes and better people,” Schmidt said.
Wright said that he knows that things are going to be different in the program, but change could help out the program in the future.
Wright hopes to be able to come back to volunteer with different events that go on at Baldwin and to help out with the cross country team when possible.
“I want to come back and volunteer as much as I can, as long as I’m not interfering with the new coaching staff that comes in,” Wright said.
Both of the coaches said they are going to miss coaching the athletes on a daily basis.
“I will miss the athletes and all the business of coaching,” Schmidt said.