Students need to do their part to keep Coach Wright

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The Villanova basketball team has been to three Final Fours in its history, but there is more buzz surrounding the team this season than ever before. It has taken Jay Wright a mere four seasons to turn the program from an also-ran (the likes of recent St. Johns, Seton Hall, Rutgers, or Georgetown teams) into a legitimate national title contender. The Villanova administration has rewarded him with a “wait and see” approach to a contract extension, leaving him as one of the lowest paid coaches in the Big East, much less the nation. Now just as our Wildcats are coming into their own, there are other Wildcats in Lexington, as well as Hoosiers in Bloomington, and Bruins in Los Angeles whose programs are not living up to their potential or reputation. If Villanova has the kind of season that we all expect, these or other programs will be willing to double Coach Wright’s salary. For those of you in doubt, look to Dave Leitao, who took over a Virginia program with no more history, but plenty more money than the DePaul team he abandoned after taking them to the NIT.

Historically, college administrations tend to think that their coach will not leave, or at least that the coach will give them an opportunity to match another offer. That is not the way it works. I am writing to tell you that at the end of a successful season, Villanova WILL lose Coach Wright, in the exact same manner that Hofstra lost him. In my years at Villanova it was students, not alumni or faculty, who pressured the administration into using union labor on the West Campus Apartments and students who pressured the administration into changing the location of the Senior Dinner Dance to a convention center because of allegations of racism at the Adams Mark Hotel. On Villanova’s campus, the students have a voice. I am urging you to use yours to keep the Wildcat Tradition beyond this season.

Jim FoleyClass of 2000