Johnny Wright wanted to get closer to home.
The result — the Bulldogs have a familiar face at the helm of their football program.
Wright has been named the head football coach at Dora once again. He previously coached the Bulldogs from 2001-06, amassing a 55-16 record while guiding the school to the state playoffs five times in six years.
“I had a good job where I was,” Wright said, who coahed at Leroy High School in south Alabama last year. “I came in for an interview (at Dora). Driving on campus, I reemembered all the good times and all the things we accomplished here. I’m looking to get us back to that point. I hope we do even better. Some of the most fun I’ve had was at Dora. I enjoyed the area.”
Since leaving Dora, Wright coached three years at Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (2007-09) and tried retirement for one year before taking over the Leroy football program last year.
“I tried to stay out of it, but I missed it too much. Leroy was a great place to be. I wanted to get closer to home. Things just worked out at Dora. I wanted to go somewhere where the community is involved. I know Dora is like that,” said Wright who owns a home in Tuscaloosa. “I’m winding down my years and looking to finish up with some enjoyment. When I was here before, it was a lot of fun. When athletics goes well, the whole school runs smoother. Winning helps everything. I’m excited about it. Looking at the athletes here, they are good group of kids.”
Wright replaces Dusty Goode, who led Dora to a 9-3 season before stepping down from his post in April. At Leroy, Wright went 8-5, leading the Class 2A Bears to the third-round of the state playoffs.
Dora Principal Kathy James worked with Wright during his first tenure with the Bulldogs.
“We are excited to have him back,” James said. “We had a lot of good candidates. We wanted someone who had been a head coach before and he has been a head coach for a long time. People still know him at Dora.”
Wright was chosen by Dora’s coaching search committee and the move will be made official at the upcoming Walker County Board of Education set for June 14.
Wright has jumped right in to his new role. He’s met with the current players and put the team through its first workout on Thursday.
Wright initially came to a Dora football program coming off the worst two-year stretch in school history. The Bulldogs went a combined 1-19 during the 1999 and 2000 seasons. Wright didn’t waste time turning the program around. Dora finished 4-6 in his first season, but followed with records of 12-1, 11-1, 10-2, 7-4 and 11-2. Wright, who is from Sheffield, has a career record of 163-106.
Dora hasn’t posted a double-digit win season since Wright’s departure. The Bulldogs had their most successful season since 2006 last year, going 9-3 and reaching the second-round of the playoffs.