Courtesy of Charlie Fox

Greg Welsh

Philadelphia is starting to get used to this. Less than two months after the city celebrated the Philadelphia Eagles first Super Bowl victory, crowds took to the streets again, this time in support of Villanova’s men’s basketball team.

After capturing their second national championship in the last three years, the Wildcats proceeded down Market Street in front of thousands of faithful fans last Thursday, who braved the brisk morning air and lined the streets hours before the parade’s 11 a.m. start.

The festivities started at 20th and Market and the event culminated five 

later at  Dilworth Park in front of City Hall. 

Villanova head coach Jay Wright was amongst those to speak, along with several of the team’s players.

A common theme that could be seen from all who spoke was an appreciation for the team’s conference and city.

“We are so proud to represent the Big 5, the Big East and most importantly, the great city of Philadelphia,” Wright said.

In a year where the team’s on-campus home, The Pavillion, was under construction, the Wildcats were forced to play their home games in Philadelphia. The dedication of Villanova’s faithful fans, who traveled to the Wells Fargo Center each and every game to support their team, did not go unnoticed by Villanova Athletic Director, Mark Jackson.

“You guys made the trek to downtown Philly week after week after week,” Jackson told the crowd, referring to the support the team received at the Wells Fargo Center, where they played all of their home games this season.  

After speeches from several government officials and University faculty, the players were finally brought to the stage. Donned in their new championship apparel, the team came out one by one as they were announced by the voice of Villanova, Ryan Fannon.

Short thank yous were given by junior forward Mikal Bridges, point guard Jalen Brunson, the Championship Game hero Donte DiVincenzo and fan favorite, Phil Booth.

Brunson made sure to show his appreciation for the fans.

“We couldn’t have done it without you,” Brunson said. “We appreciate your support. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us.” 

The parade will go down as one of the most memorable days for the Nova Nation. Alumni, faculty and current students from all over attended the event, to honor the Wildcats on their historic season.

It was quite a week for Villanova students, who saw their classes cancelled on both Tuesday and Thursday for championship celebrations.

The Wildcats compiled a 36-4 record on the season, the most wins in the University’s history.

The ‘Cats cruised through their opponents en route to the 2018 NCAA title, winning all six tournament games by double digits. Villanova capped off their season with a 79-62 victory over Michigan in the National Championship.