Jay Wright Retires As Head Men’s Basketball Coach


Courtesy of Olivia Pasquale/Villanovan Photography

Jay Wright at the Final Four earlier this month.

Colin Beazley, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Wednesday night, Villanova head coach Jay Wright announced on Twitter that he will retire, effective immediately. Wright had been the head coach at Villanova since 2001.

“Over the last 21 seasons I have had the opportunity to live out a professional dream as the head coach at Villanova,” Wright said in his 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. 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.”

Wright will remain a part of Villanova as Special Assistant to the President.

In his 21 seasons at Villanova, Wright had a record of 520–197. Wright won National Championships in 2016 and 2018, advancing to the Final Four in 2009 and 2022 as well, and won eight Big East titles. In his final season, Wright led the Wildcats to a 30-8 record, advancing to the NCAA Final Four. Villanova lost, 81-65, to the eventual National Champion Kansas. Wright was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021.

The news were first reported on Twitter by Stadium and The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The school announced in a separate release that Fordham’s Kyle Neptune, who was a Villanova assistant from 2013-2021, will be Villanova’s next head coach.

Wright called an 8 p.m. meeting with his players to announce the decision.

The Athletic reported that Wright is making the decision to spend more time with his family, including his wife, Patty, and his three children. 

In a statement, Donohue and Director of Athletics Mark Jackson expressed their gratitude to Wright.

“We would like to start by expressing our immense gratitude to Jay Wright for his incredible leadership of Villanova Men’s Basketball for the past 21 years,” Donohue and Jackson stated. “He has led our storied program with class, humility and grace, leaving an indelible impact on this community.

“Jay’s legacy at Villanova extends well beyond the numerous awards, accolades and championships. 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. Jay taught us all the true meaning of ‘ATTITUDE,’ so, on behalf of everyone associated with Villanova Basketball, we would like to express our overwhelming ‘GRATITUDE’ for everything he has done for Villanova.”

Wright, 60, was asked about retirement during the Final Four in the context of Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, but Wednesday’s announcement was unexpected. Although Wright did mention that he thinks about retiring each year, there was no indication that he would follow Krzyzewski into retirement.

“I would be lying if I tell you I don’t [think about retiring],” Wright said. “You think about it after each year, you think about where your life is, what are you going to do. It’s difficult to think about.”

Wright went on to talk about a potential succession plan.

“I think about it because there’s going to have to be a time when it’s time for the next coach of Villanova. There’s going to have to be that time. You have to pick that time. I think Mike did it extremely intelligently. And it’s got to be really difficult.”

Now, Villanova’s succession plan for Wright will be tested, but the program believes Neptune is the right person for the job.

“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 stated. “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.”

Neptune returns to Villanova after serving one season as the head coach at Fordham University. Neptune went 16-16 at Fordham, leading the Rams to an eighth placed finish in the Atlantic-10 after they were picked to finish last in the Preseason Poll. Neptune was a part of both National Championships in the Wright era. 

The Villanovan’s Meghann Morhardt contributed to this report.