Jay Wright Among College Basketball’s Elite Coaches


Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Jay Wright cuts down the nets in San Antonio. 

Kevin Gamgort

Following their second NCAA National title victory in the past three years, Jay Wright is now a two-time champion.

Since coming to Villanova in 2001, Wright has compiled a 422-165 record (.719 winning percentage), making him the winningest coach in the history of Villanova Basketball.

Although Wright has been at Villanova for over 15 years, what he has accomplished the past four years is truly remarkable.

Since 2014, Villanova has 136 wins, which is the most in the nation over this span of time. The Wildcats have also had over 30 wins in each of the last four seasons, making Wright just the second coach in the history of NCAA Division 1 basketball to accomplish this. 

This success is a testament to the coaching staff at Villanova University, who have built a unified culture unlike any other program in the country, a program that centers around hard play and relentless effort. This type of success has not gone unnoticed by former wildcats, especially 2016 NCAA Championship game hero Kris Jenkins. 

“We’re a blue blood. We’ve got the most wins over the past four years in college basketball. That’s a testament to the coaching staff, Coach Wright and the guys that he recruits,” Jenkins said.

Unlike most national powerhouses, Wright does not target top recruits who have the mindset of getting to the NBA as quickly as possible. Instead, he prefers to target players that would work well in the system and strive for the best.

“That’s what it takes to be a great coach,” said former Wildcat and current Los Angeles Laker Josh Hart. “He’s not a big one-and-done guy. He doesn’t get the best players in the country that if you put three of them together you’re going to win 25 games easily. He takes guys who are under-recruited, talented guys, high character guys, and helps transform them into great basketball players.”

For Wright, character is just as integral as skill, and a balance of both is the perfect recipe for success. Not only has Wright garnered the respect of basketball savants, he has always had the respect of his players and staff.

“He has such a great legacy here, such a footprint. We love him. We don’t want him to go. It’s such a great culture,” Hart said.

Now a two-time champion, Wright has more rings than elite college basketball coaches such as John Calipari, Bill Self, Tom Izzo and Jim Boeheim. He has instilled himself among the elites, and is bound to have a spot in the college basketball hall of fame.

As for Wright’s future, he seems to enjoy his situation and the people around him.

“I just have the best job in the country,” Wright said. “I’m in my hometown, my wife’s alma mater, my favorite team growing up… I just love going to work every day. Our guys graduate. You see the kids are great kids to coach. As a coach, there’s nothing better.”

It appears that Wright won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, as he hopes to build upon an already impressive resume.