Bryant, Vince Couldn’t Tame Manual’s Wright

Sports Columnist
The Voice-Tribune

In the weeks before the Super Bowl, media members always are scrambling for good stories.

This year they resurrected Steve Wright, the Manual High product who earned two Super Bowl rings as a member of Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers.

Wright was big and was he ever colorful!

He was a standout member of one of the strongest – if not the strongest – team in the history of Kentucky high school football.

That was the 1959 Manual team coached by Tom Harper, who had played tackle for Madisonville High and the University of Kentucky.

In addition to Lombardi, Wright played for Bear Bryant at Alabama.

That’s right, the big guy played for the two toughest, most demanding coaches in the history of football on any level.

Not many people would argue if l dropped a “brutal” in there too.

This is a true story. Lombardi once got so perturbed  with Wright that the Packers’ coach slugged him with all his might. Wright just laughed. That story made the rounds of the NFL and all over the nation in the college ranks. It was true.

Back to Manual when Wright played for the Crimsons. The team was loaded with talent. More All-Staters than any other team. In college, there was a Crimson All-American running back at Michigan State, Sherman Lewis. Three Crimsons captained  their college teams. When Michigan State played at Purdue one year, Pete Dudgeon captained Purdue and Lewis led Michigan State.

Wright now lives in Atlanta and he keeps up with Manual and his high school teammates. He is 6-5 and not too much over his playing weight so he looks to be in pretty good shape.

When he was starting for Manual, it was during the glory days of Louisville high school football in the 1950s and ‘60s.

Manual won the first state championship when playoffs were adopted in 1959. Male High won the next, then Flaget and then St. Xavier. There was no such thing as one team dominating as Trinity now does. It was a battle royal among two public and two Catholic schools.