Jay Wright in Contention for The Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge


Courtesy of ESPN.com

Vote for Jay Wright in the Infinity Coaches’ Charity Challenge! 

Gabriel Calvo

The Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge has recently ramped up as it enters the second round of competition. Involving 48 coaches and schools across the nation, the Coaches’ Challenge seeks to raise money for charitable organizations of each coaches’ choosing, the winner receiving $100,000 for their selected charity. This includes the University’s head coach of the men’s basketball team, Jay Wright, who has promoted and sponsored the Augustinian Fund along with his wife Patty, a Villanova alumna.

“[The Augustinian Fund] provides a reliable source of revenue for the Augustinians,” said Madonna Sutter, the Fund’s Director of Advancement. The proceeds would specifically go towards the Augustinians’ St. Thomas of Villanova Province, one of 11 provinces around the world. The ministries that the Augustinians are involved with include education, such as here at the University, and to “serve the poor and the marginalized,” said Sutter. “[This] is a part of Villanova’s value-based proposition as well … That all comes from the Augustinians.”

The Augustinian ministries specifically include year-long volunteer programs around the United States, communities in Japan and Peru, and the Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor (ADROP). ADROP’s services include educational programs, prison ministry and a Unity health clinic. The Unity Clinic in South Philadelphia, Sutter said, “serves the under-insured and noninsured people of South Philadelphia.” This aspect of ADROP is particularly notable for its strong affiliation with the University’s M. Louise Fitzpatrick School of Nursing. ADROP is completely financed by the Augustinian Fund.

The money from this year’s Coaches’ Challenge will be used primarily for the care of elderly friars and the education and training of younger Augustinians. The monastery on the University’s campus is the only building on campus that does not belong to the school and requires approximately $3 million dollars every year to maintain. “It is essentially an assisted living, nursing home,” Sutter said. “So there are a lot of health care costs.” The Augustinians are financially independent of their institutions and thus rely on the Augustinian Fund to maintain their lifestyles of service.

Wright’s promotion of the Fund goes back seven years, and he raised money for it in the Coaches’ Challenge every year since. In April 2017, the Wrights were recipients of the Inaugural St. Augustine Medal for their work supporting the Augustinians.

Last year, the Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge was won by coach Matt Painter from Purdue University. Sutter noted how many of the schools participating have larger fan bases than that of the University, and are often times large state schools with student bodies numbering in the tens of thousands, not including alumni and fans. But Sutter, who had recently spoken with Wright on his radio show, noted how the University had made it this far in the competition because of a higher percentage of the ‘Nova Nation’ getting involved.

Wright has made it as far as the third round in the past but has yet to win the competition for the Augustinian Fund. “Our goal is to make it to the Final Four this year,” said Sutter. The Final Four is the fourth round of the Challenge, narrowed down from a starting field of 48. Each of the Challenge’s four rounds are narrowed by half for the first three rounds, and by a third for the last round. Advancement is contingent on receiving more votes than the rest of the field.

Voting is open to anyone and can be done via any electronic device on the Coaches’ Challenge website and social media platforms up to twice a day on multiple devices.Voting for the second round ends on Feb. 11 at 1:00 p.m. EST. Wright currently sits at fifth, placing him comfortably among the top 12 that will move on to Round Three. The winner of the final round will be announced on March 11, the same day as the NCAA Tournament’s Selection Sunday.

In order for Wright to win the Coaches’ Challenge, it will require the full enthusiasm and involvement of the Villanova community to help support the Augustinians that make the University unique.

About the Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge: for more information or to vote in the Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge visit www.infinititimeout.com or bit.ly/voteJayWright.

For more information on the Augustinian Fund visit www.augustinianfund.org