UF prepared Wright for life after football

Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 12:44 a.m.
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Lawrence Wright was one of the shining stars of the 1996 Gator football team that won the national championship.

Sun file photo
Lawrence Wright was one of the shining stars of the 1996 Gator football team that won the national championship. That year he was given the Thorpe Award as the best defensive back in college football.
He went on to earn a degree in building construction and signed with the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals, where he was cut after three seasons. After a brief stint with the Orlando franchise in the now-defunct XFL, Wright went back to his hometown of Miami and entered the business world.
"College prepared me for life after football," Wright, 29, said in the motivational tone that established him as a team leader at UF. "Football was an opportunity, but I had to take that opportunity.
"I came from Liberty City, the inner city of Miami," he said. "My desire was to play football, but I understood the only way to play was to get an education."
After his football career ended, Wright worked for a Miami construction company. Then he set out on his own in building construction and other enterprises.
Today, Wright is founder and president of World of Productions, a Miami-based umbrella for more than 20 far-ranging companies, some of which are nonprofit organizations designed to offer job training and jobs to the disadvantaged.
He said his enterprises range from construction and distribution businesses to a copy center, fitness company and "Tools for Life," a firm that runs motivational seminars.
As a businessman, Wright is poised to give back to the Gators and has joined the Gator Career Network, a network of UF boosters, alumni, former letter winners and corporations that have agreed to check out the resumes of the vast majority of UF's student-athletes who don't go pro. "I'm going to get a lot of them down here," said Wright, who is planning to launch GameReady, a "performance beverage" that he insists is much better than Gatorade.
"I love the Gators and everything," he said, "but GameReady works just like an IV."
Wright said he wants to hire former Gators to promote the beverage because "they know how a player thinks."
"Football is an opportunity, a platform," Wright said. "Some athletes fail because they don't understand their sport is a platform to be a role model."
Yet even with his success off the field, the lure of sport tugs at someone who believes he still can contribute on the field.
Wright said after Steve Spurrier went to the NFL as head coach of the Washington Redskins, he sent his former UF coach his resume. So far, he said, Spurrier hasn't responded.

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