Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski, and now Jay Wright.
Over the past year, college basketball has seen a massive overhaul at the coaching positions, with three of the preeminent head coaches signaling the end of their careers on the sidelines, with Villanova head coach Jay Wright announced his retirement from coaching on Wednesday.
“Over the past 21 seasons, I have had the opportunity to live out a professional dream as the head coach at Villanova,” Wright said in a statement. “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 honor 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,” the statement continued. “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.”
— Jay Wright (@VUCoachJWright) April 21, 2022
Wright’s retirement is shocking news for the college basketball community, especially after the retirement of Krzyzewski at Duke following the Blue Devil’s run to the Final Four. Wright has been head coach at Villanova since 2001, winning two national championships in 2016 and 2018, and taking the Wildcats to four Final Four appearances, including in 2022.
Villanova lost to the eventual champion in April’s Final Four, losing to Kansas 81-65 in the national semifinals. Most assumed that Wright was ready to take over the mantle as the best coach in college basketball, filling the void that Krzyzewski’s retirement created.
But Wright appears to be done with coaching — reportedly moving into a new role with the university — and allowing Fordham head coach Kyle Neptune, who worked with Wright for 10 years at Villanova, to take over the reins.
“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,” Villanova athletic director Mark 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.”
College basketball will now look to a new group of coaches to lead the sport, including Kansas head coach Bill Self and Gonzaga head coach Mark Few.
“Coach Krzyzewski, Coach Williams and Coach Wright are huge losses for college basketball in just over a year,” NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt told ESPN. “Yet like the legends they learned from and followed — Bob Knight, Dean Smith and Rollie Massimino — the next generation of coaches will rise to the challenge of advancing our great game.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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