CONCORD, N.C. — Former University of South Carolina quarterback Anthony Wright was listed in stable condition at a North Carolina hospital Tuesday after suffering multiple non-life threatening gunshot wounds on Monday night.
According to a release from the Concord (N.C.) Police Department, Wright was shot after getting into an argument with his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend. A warrant for the assailant, William "Willie" Moses Hooker Jr., has been issued.
The release said that the argument started when Hooker dropped off the daughter he shares with Wright’s girlfriend. The altercation escalated until Hooker allegedly shot Wright.
Wright was rushed to Carolinas Medical Center for emergency surgery. According to a police department media release and family friends, Wright is in stable condition.
“He was an unbelievable leader, and a great man,” said Charleston native Cedric Williams, a USC teammate of Wright’s. “He just cared about his teammates. I’m planning on trying to go see him later today or tomorrow.”
From Vanceboro, N.C., Wright was a productive QB at USC and is the most successful NFL quarterback the school has ever produced. He started 19 games for four teams over six seasons and retired with a championship ring when the New York Giants won the 2008 Super Bowl.
Considered the No. 2 prospect in North Carolina and the No. 7 quarterback in the country when he committed to USC, Wright played for coach Brad Scott from 1995-98. He redshirted the 1994 season and played sparingly in 1995 as a backup to Steve Taneyhill but took over in 1996 and produced his best collegiate season.
He wore uniform No. 1 and was immediately dubbed, “A-1.”
Wright’s first year as a starter featured 1,890 passing yards, wins over Georgia and Clemson, and his personal-best, a 351-yard performance in a loss to Mississippi State. The following two seasons were dogged by a right knee injury, costing Wright the last two games of 1997, and a 1998 season where he threw for more yards than as a sophomore but the Gamecocks went 1-10.
“One of our first meetings, when I came in in ’98, he was already established. He was an All SEC-caliber player, and me being a freshman, you wonder how that star would react or be to you,” Williams said. “He was a humble cat. He spoke to the freshmen and made them feel welcome.”
Wright wasn’t drafted but earned a free-agent NFL shot with Pittsburgh. He was cut there but signed by the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad, where he started two of his four games in 2000 and three of four games the next season.
Wright bounced to the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Giants through 2007, playing 31 games and throwing for 3,590 yards and 20 touchdowns. He led the Ravens to the 2003 playoffs, going 5-2 as a starter before completing 20 of 37 passes for 214 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in a 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans in a wild-card game.
Wright played in three games for the Giants in 2007 but didn’t get a snap in the 17-14 Super Bowl XLII upset over the undefeated New England Patriots.
Wright, a doting father, was working as a private quarterback instructor in Charlotte. The news of the incident was met with messages of support and prayer from several Gamecocks, including former defensive lineman Corey Miller and current quarterback Dakereon Joyner.
Hooker has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill. Anyone who spots Hooker or has information is encouraged to call the Concord police at 704-920-5000 or file an anonymous tip at cabarruscrimestoppers.com.