Jay Wright, who is a natural performer in public, broke down several times when he spoke about his sudden retirement from Villanova. He said he didn’t have the “edge” to continue coaching at a championship-level level.
Wright, 60, shocked college basketball with his retirement from the Big East team he led to two national championships as well as four Final Fours during a Hall of Fame career. This season, he lost in the Final Four.
In 21 seasons, he was 520-197 and he handed the program to Kyle Neptune, his former assistant coach.
Wright stated Friday that he had considered retiring here and there in the past several seasons, but decided down the stretch that this one was his final. Wright stated that he considers himself to be officially retired from coaching at all levels.
Wright stated that Wright felt like he didn’t have the edge he had always had. Wright said, “The edge was always there for me. So I started evaluating. I wouldn’t have to think about anything. I began to think that I had to get fired up here. Let’s go. … We could not ask the players. You have to give 100%, and I’m giving 70%. It was just the right time.
Wright stated that he informed his Villanova circle at the end the regular season that he was going to be retiring.
Wright will continue at Villanova, where he will be involved in fundraising and advising as well as education. In 2021, Wright was inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Wright had to work for three years before Villanova made it to the Sweet 16 in 2005. The Wildcats made the Elite Eight the following year, and reached the Final Four in 2009.
Villanova won its national title in 2016 under Wright’s buzzerbeater. In 2018, Villanova rolled over the NCAA Tournament field, winning every single game by double digits to win the national title.
In 2020, he was named AP Coach of the Decade.
“It’s always felt like a run to me. He said that when you are on top of it, and you grind and have the edge in your mind, it’s possible to do it.”
Wright felt that the run was finally over.