Senior Brad Wright and head coach Donnie Darr build a solid foundation in Columbus

by John Leiby, Ohio State Athletics Communications

In the world of college golf, every player has their ups and downs. Whether it is the elation that follows a great round or the sheer agony of the putt that got away, every golfer has felt it.

Luckily for Ohio State senior Brad Wright there has been a lot more good than bad in his college career. Success can be contributed to the solid coaching and advice he has received while starting out at Akron and transferring to Ohio State three years ago. Along the way, the game of golf has been the centerpiece for a burgeoning friendship between Wright and head coach Donnie Darr.

The pair started out Wright’s freshman season at Akron and they were reunited this season when Darr was hired to take the helm of Ohio State. It is a bond that will remain even as Wright’s days as a Buckeye draw to a close.

Wright began his college career at Akron during the 2005-06 season, the same year that Darr took over the reigns as head coach of the Zips. While Darr was only there that season, Wright began to learn more about himself as a golfer.

“Coming out of high school I probably could have gone to a bigger school, but I was thrilled with the decision (I made),” Wright said. “I wanted to go play college golf. I wanted to go where I was going to be pushed, where it wouldn’t be easy for me. I figured out a lot of what I needed to work on and just how to grind through rounds.”

After two years at Akron in which he played in all but one tournament, Wright made the difficult decision to transfer to Ohio State following the 2006-07 season, a year in which he was lauded as First Team All-MAC after setting the school record for most rounds in the 60s with 10. It was a choice that he knew he had to make.

“More or less, I went through four coaches in my time there,” Wright said. “To better myself, I knew that this was the direction I needed to go.”

Wright sat out the 2007-08 season to fulfill eligibility requirements and chip away at his classes while in OSU’s Fisher College of Business.

In ironic fashion, in his quest to find coaching stability, the summer before Wright began competing as a Buckeye his junior season, long-time Ohio State head coach Jim Brown announced that he would be retiring at the end of his 36th year, the 2008-09 season.

Luckily for Wright, a familiar face would be there for final season for Ohio State. Following a stint as an assistant coach at national golf powerhouse Oklahoma State, Darr, on Ohio native, accepted the head coaching job at Ohio State in June 2009.

As it was four years ago at Akron, the friendship between the two is still one based on trust and honesty.

“My relationship with Donnie is very good,” Wright said. “We’re very open and honest with each other. There are times when he’s been very truthful and it’s only been beneficial to me.”

As the year has progressed, Darr’s guidance has helped Wright’s game move up to the next level.

“As of late I’m playing much better,” Wright said. “It’s really been nothing that I’ve done physically to my game it’s just Coach Darr helping me with some things and getting my trust and confidence back in myself.”

From the very beginning to the very end, Darr has helped Wright through his college career and theirs is a friendship that will continue as Wright makes the move into the next phase of his career.

“He’s a wealth of knowledge,” Wright said. “He’ll only be a great asset to me as I move forward.”