Villanova head coach Jay Wright announces his retirement

·3-min read

One of the most accomplished head coaches in college basketball is stepping away.

After multiple reports surfaced earlier Wednesday, Villanova’s Jay Wright announced his retirement from coaching on Wednesday night. Wright, a two-time national championship-winning coach, has been the head coach at Villanova since 2001.

Kyle Neptune, a longtime assistant under Wright, will become Villanova's new head coach.

"Over the past 21 seasons, I have had the opportunity to live out a professional dream as the head coach at Villanova," Wright said. "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 a member of our basketball family, Kyle Neptune."

Wright will remain at Villanova in a new role that involves "fundraising, advising, education and more," the school said.

"Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat," Wright said.

Wright had Hall of Fame coaching career

In addition to the national championships in 2016 and 2018, Wright, 60, coached the Wildcats to eight Big East regular season titles, five Big East tournament titles, 16 NCAA tournament appearances and four Final Fours.

In 2022, the Wildcats won the Big East conference tournament and advanced all the way to the Final Four, where they lost to eventual champion Kansas.

Overall, Wright has a 520-197 record in 21 seasons at Villanova. Over that span, VU topped the 30-win mark six different times.

Including his seven seasons as the head coach at Hofstra, Wright’s all-time record as a college head coach is 642-282. At Hofstra, Wright won two America East championships and reached the NCAA tournament twice.

Wright was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of its 2021 class.

Villanova head coach Jay Wright watches during practice for the men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Friday, April 1, 2022, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Villanova head coach Jay Wright watches during practice for the men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Friday, April 1, 2022, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

With Wright stepping away from coaching, he becomes the latest Hall of Famer to retire in the last two years, joining Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina's Roy Williams. Krzyzewski, the NCAA men's basketball's all-time winningest coach, just wrapped up his final season while Williams stepped down following the conclusion of the 2020–21 season.

With Wright, Krzyzewski and Williams all retiring, Kansas' Bill Self and Iona's Rick Pitino are the only two active coaches in men's college basketball with multiple national titles.

Welcome to the Kyle Neptune era

In conjunction with Wright's announcement, he handed the reins over to Neptune, one of his longtime assistants.

Neptune, 37, was an assistant under Wright from 2008 to 2010 and again from 2013 to 2021. Neptune spent the 2022 season as the head coach at Fordham. It was his first head-coaching opportunity.

The Rams went 16-16 overall and 8-10 in Atlantic 10 play. Before Neptune's arrival, Fordham reached 16 wins in a season only once in the previous 14 seasons.

"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," said Villanova athletic director Mark Jackson. "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."

A news conference with Wright, Neptune and Jackson will be held on Villanova's campus on Friday morning.

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