Jay Wright ’83 leads Villanova Wildcats to National Championship

Lauren Whelan, Sports Editor

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As the clock wound down in the men’s NCAA national championship game on April 4, Jay Wright ’83 gathered his team into a huddle on the side of the court. With 4.7 seconds left on the clock and the score tied at 74-74, the Wildcats had one last opportunity to claim the national title, or the team’s back-and-forth fight with the North Carolina Tar Heels would be sent into overtime. Wright, along with every player on the team, knew exactly which play they were going to run: Nova.

With senior captain Ryan Arcidiacono carrying the ball, the seconds on the clock wound down in seemingly-slow motion. He could have taken the shot; it seemed like the obvious option. Arcidiacono recognized how open his teammate Kris Jenkins was as he streaked down the court after in-bounding the ball and dished off a quick pass to for Jenkins. The entire arena then watched as Jenkins launched a buzzer-beating three to win the game, a victory that will truly go down in history.

Unlike most other serious contenders in the tournament, the Villanova team was characterized by its togetherness—the most integral part of the environment encouraged and enforced by Wright throughout his tenure at Villanova. Wright’s unique approach to coaching, which was epitomized by the selflessness of Arcidiacono’s pass in the final play, ensured that each and every player was, above everything, in the game for the team and the program. Wright, who played basketball for the Bison during his time at the University, has always had an affinity for the game and knew he wanted to coach from a young age. Now he has achieved the ultimate victory for any coach and will be remembered among all as a national champion.

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