Thurman Noel Wright, 95 from Greeley, Colorado passed away on November 9, 2023, at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado.
He was born on August 9, 1928, in Wayne County, Indiana to Clarence and Bernice Wright. He was raised in Richmond, Indiana and sports were always a big part of his life. After graduating from Richmond High School in 1946 he attended Colorado State Teacher’s College (UNC) where he played both basketball and baseball and earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1951. In 1956 and 1957 from Indiana University he received his Master’s and Professor of Education Degree. He served in the Army from 1951-1953.
Thurm’s lengthy career in coaching and education started in Lamar, Colorado and back to Indiana where he worked for school districts in Ossian, Indiana and Cambridge City, Indiana. He served as basketball and baseball coach, and taught science, social studies, physical education and driver’s education. At Earlham College in Richmond, he continued coaching basketball and baseball and teaching physical education. Moving to Black Hills State College in Spearfish, South Dakota, he was the basketball coach, assistant baseball and football coach, head trainer and physical education teacher from 1964-1965. In 2015, he along with his 1964-65 basketball team were inducted in the Black Hills State College Hall of Fame as co-champions of the Intercollegiate Conference. He returned to his alma mater in 1965 where he was the baseball coach from 1968-1970 and, the basketball coach 1968-1983, professor of physical education, recreation and health, and teacher of driver’s education. He retired as professor emeritus in 1986 and continued to supervise student teachers until 1989.
His teams at Ossian High School, Lincoln High School in Cambridge City and Black Hills State College won championships and he was twice named Coach of the Year. He played on UNC’s 1949 championship baseball and basketball teams. His 1949 baseball team was the District 7 championship among eight final teams and was the first baseball team inducted into the UNC’s Athletic Hall of Fame. While coaching baseball at UNC, his team won the RMCC championship.
He married Margaret Robertson in 1952 and they were married for 59 years until her passing in 2011. They raised three children in Greeley, Mark, Pamela and Lisa.
Thurman was extremely passionate when it came to basketball, baseball, and the University of Northern Colorado athletics. He enjoyed golf, the Colorado Rockies, singing, dancing, and his family and friends. He continued to connect with his coaching community throughout his life.
Thurman is preceded in death by his parents, his wife, and brother William Wright. He is survived by his son, Mark (Cheryl) of Greeley, and daughters Pamela (Tony Cruz), and Lisa both of Arvada, CO, granddaughter Shelly Wright of Greeley, and his sister-in-law Montene Wright and family.
A Celebration of Life will be held on December 2, 2023, from 1pm to 4pm in the 3rd floor Panorama Room at the University of Northern Colorado University Center, 2101 10th Avenue, Greeley.
As a student athlete, coach and professor at the University of Northern Colorado, Thurman had a long history and strong relationship with the University. He established “The Bill and Thurm Wright Men’s Basketball Scholarship Fund”. He felt strongly about giving future student athletics at UNC the same positive experiences and opportunities he was given. Contributions can be made to the Bill and Thurm Wright Scholarship Foundation at the University of Northern Colorado. Checks can be made payable to the UNC Foundation and sent to 1620 Reservoir Road, Greeley, CO 80631.
In lieu of a tree or flowers, please make donations to Thurman's athletic fund.