WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Jerry Wainwright is back in the game. The 73-year-old former UNC Wilmington head basketball coach has accepted a job as a full-time assistant coach at the University of Tulsa, where he will be reunited with a longtime friend, Golden Hurricane head coach Frank Haith.
“I’ve known Frank for a long-time,” Wainwright said from his home in Brunswick County. “It’s a great conference, and a great opportunity for me.”
Haith was a graduate assistant at Wake Forest University when Wainwright was an assistant coach with the Demon Deacons. Haith joined the UNCW program in 1990 as an assistant in under Head Coach Kevin Eastman, staying for two seasons years prior to Wainwright taking over the Seahawk program in 1994. Wainwright left Wilmington after eight seasons, with three conference championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances, to become the head coach at the University of Richmond. He left Richmond for DePaul University in 2005, where he coached for five years.
Since 2010, Wainwright has twice worked as an assistant to another former UNCW assistant, Head Coach Rodney Terry and Fresno State University. He also worked as Director of Basketball Operations at Marquette University. For the past year out of coaching, Wainwright worked with Life Sports, a Charlotte-area organization that teaches and mentors youth. Teaching and being part of the on-court action drew him to the opportunity to join Haith’s staff.
“I missed coaching,” Wainwright said. “To be on the (basketball) floor and working with the players is what I do best.”
Wainwright and his wife Debbie plan to stay in Brunswick County, where they have made their home for the past several years. Although with this new job, he will be commuting to the Midwest.