Long-term Villanova University head coach Jay Wright has announced retirement from the position after 21-seasons. In this long period, Wright has won two NCAA titles in 2016 and 2018 with four Final Four appearances. He also won the Naismith Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2016 and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021.
Jay Wright confirmed the news as he released a statement that talked about his amazing journey with Villanova. “Over the past 21 seasons, I have had the opportunity to live out a professional dream as the head coach at Villanova," the statement said. “Patty and I have been blessed to work with incredible, gifted young men who allowed us to coach them and brought us unmatched joy. We cannot overstate our gratitude to the players, coaches, and administrators who have been with us on this path. It has been an honour and a privilege to work at Villanova, especially under Father Peter and Mark Jackson.”
“Now, though, it's time for us to enter a new era of Villanova basketball. After 35 years in coaching, I am proud and excited to hand over the reins to Villanova's next coach. I am excited to remain a part of Villanova and look forward to working with Father Peter, Mark and the rest of the leadership team. Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.”
Villanova President Rev. Peter M. Donohue and Villanova Vice President and Director of Athletics Mark Jackson also issued a joint statement addressing Wright’s retirement. The statement said, “He will be forever known to our community as Villanova’s winningest coach, who did things the "Wright'' way, guiding, developing, and empowering the student-athletes who played for him to not only be better on the basketball court but in their personal lives”.
New head coach: Kyle Neptune
Mark Jackson also confirmed the signing of Kyle Neptune, as the replacement for Jay Wright. Neptune has previously worked with Wildcats as a video coordinator and was the head coach at Fordham for one season where his team had a 16-16 record, a 12-game improvement in the win column from 2020.
“When looking for a successor, we wanted a candidate who could navigate the changing landscape of collegiate athletics and keep Villanova in a position of strength -- now and in the future," Jackson said. "After meeting with several exceptional candidates, we found all those attributes and more in Kyle Neptune. Kyle quickly stood out for his basketball knowledge, recruiting savvy and natural ability to connect with student-athletes and coaches.”