Villanova Head Coach Steps Down

Kaylee Donnelly, Senior Writer

This past week, Jay Wright stepped down from his position as head coach of Villanova’s men’s basketball team. It came as a surprise to both fans and bystanders alike. 

Wright, at only 60 years old, leaves behind an objectively successful career. He spent 21 years with the Wildcats, earning two national championships and four Final Four appearances, this last season being one of them. He’s also earned a hefty amount of awards throughout his coaching career, as a five time Big-East coach of the year, with his most recent being awarded in 2019. Many questioned why Wright decided to leave on such a high note, but his response was rather simple: he was burnt out. 

Wright stated that he simply needed a break. Going into the 2021-22 season, the coach felt he did not have the edge or passion he once had. It’s easy to wonder whether or not this is true, given his success this past season, but his proclaimed retirement doesn’t seem like a mere excuse to grow his career. Wright believes he’s already experienced a taste of professional basketball, as he was an integral part of the Olympic staff for the men’s basketball team that won a gold medal this past Olympic season. 

His statement was not a hard rejection of college basketball, however. Wright has turned down any rumors of moving his career into the NBA, seeming rather set on taking a break, believing he needs one before returning to coaching. But the former coach is leaving the door open to further professional career paths. As of right now, he’s done with coaching, but the future seems a bit unclear to everyone. 

Coaches retire all the time, but Wright’s might be a rather compelling case, particularly because he comes from a place close to home. A University alumni, Wright played for the Bison men’s basketball team, graduating class of 1983. He stayed rather close as well, coaching at a university in the same state about two and a half hours away. His success as a coach and an alumni will have many sad to see him go.

His retirement has been felt by fans, students, and maybe even the University community alike. For now, Wright will remain at Villanova in a special assistant role to the University’s president. But one will have to keep an eye on the coach’s moves in the upcoming years to see if he makes his way over into the professional sphere.

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