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Minnesota Mourns Loss of Lefty Wright

Go Gophers! Lefty Wright
Go Gophers!
Lefty Wright
Go Gophers!

Oct. 13, 2015


MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) - The University of Minnesota mourns the loss of long-time cross country and track & field official Ralph Eugene "Lefty" Wright, who passed away Monday night after a lengthy battle with cancer.

An inductee into the Roy Griak Invitational Hall of Fame (2015) and the Minnesota State High School League Hall of Fame (2011), Wright was a mainstay in the Minnesota running community dating back to the 1950s.

A 1953 graduate of St. Louis Park High School, Wright played in the 1953 state hockey tournament and ran for legendary coach Roy Griak. After graduating from Macalester in 1957, he returned to St. Louis Park High School and spent five seasons as an assistant coach for Griak before taking over the program when Griak accepted the head coaching job at the University of Minnesota. Wright served as a teacher, coach and administrator at St. Louis Park High School until his retirement in 1993 including serving 18 years as the school's athletics director.

Wright served as the official starter for nearly every Roy Griak Invitational since the meet's inception in 1986 while also working as a meet official at 47 MSHSL cross country state meets and 46 MSHSL state track & field meets, including 23 as a starter. He worked as an official at numerous Big Ten and University of Minnesota events and was also the official starter for the 1990 Olympic Festival in Minneapolis.

Wright, and his wife, Nancy, celebrated 57 years of marriage in August of 2015.