Salem’s Wright left a major impact on the football program

by Marc Narducci | Apr 18, 2023
Salem’s Wright left a major impact on the football program
Montrey Wright will always be associated with Salem High football, both as a player and a coach.  Despite great success in both roles, 35-year-old Wright is entering a new phase of his life.

Recently married, Wright made the decision to return to college and resign as Salem’s head coach.

“It was tough, considering it was home, my alma mater,” Wright said. “You wear your home on your sleeve and it was one of the hardest decisions I had to make.”

Wright was a two-way lineman at Salem and returned to the school as an assistant coach for a few seasons before becoming the head coach in 2015 after Dennis Thomas left to become the head coach of Millville. Thomas, a Salem graduate, worked on the Rutgers staff last year but recently took a position of director of high school relations for the Syracuse football program. Thomas and Wright remain good friends and stay in constant contact. 

Here is how the Rams fared under Wright’s leadership:

2015: 8-2, lost to Glassboro, 35-14 in the SJ Group 1 quarterfinal

2016: 9-3, Advanced to SJ Group 1 final before losing to, 29-26, to Paulsboro

2017: 8-3, Advanced to SJ Group 1 semifinal before losing, 28-20, to Paulsboro

2018: 9-3, Advanced to SJ Group 1 final before losing, 14-7 to Penns Grove

2019: 8-5, Advanced to CJ Group 1 final before losing, 40-8, to Willingboro

2020: 6-1, No playoffs due to COVID

2021: 11-2, Beat Paulsboro, 13-12, in the Central Jersey Group 1 championship before winning the South/Central Regional Championship, 34-8, against Woodbury

2022: 8-5, Beat Paulsboro, 33-14, in Central Jersey Group 1 championship. Lost, 22-7, to Woodbury in the first ever state Group 1 semifinal. 

Wright finished his excellent tenure at Salem with a 67-24 record, two sectional championships and five sectional title appearances. 

“I am extremely proud at what we were able to accomplish,” Wright said. “The kids bought into what we do, and I was surrounded by a great coaching staff who helped me.”

While every coach hopes to lead their team to victory, Wright wished for more than that.

“The main focus was getting kids in college, giving them the opportunities and helping them with their careers,” Wright said. “We wanted to not only give them the opportunities, but to challenge them and I think we were successful with it.”

He wanted to instill discipline, realizing it would help in all aspects of life.

“I always told them that winning would start if you take care of the small things,” he said. 

So besides the x’s and o’s aspect of the job, he saw himself as a teacher, providing lessons well beyond the football field.

Wright, who is a counselor at the school, will remain working at Salem while he gets his master’s at Wilmington University. He hasn’t closed the book on coaching in the future.

“I would not say it is over,” he said in regards to coaching in the future. “The administration at Salem has been very supportive.”

So has the entire Salem community.

“I couldn’t ask for a better group to coach and the community of Salem has embraced me,” he said. 

No doubt he will miss coaching and from the work he has done as head coach, and Salem will miss him as well.

 

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Author: Marc Narducci

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