Villanova Hall of Fame basketball coach Jay Wright retires

Williams recalled that after Villanova stunned North Carolina 77-74 to win the title in Houston, Williams waited for Villanova players an...


Williams recalled that after Villanova stunned North Carolina 77-74 to win the title in Houston, Williams waited for Villanova players and coaches to congratulate Wright before his moment with Wright.

“I said to him, ‘I’m very happy for you. I’m destroyed for my team but I’m very happy for you,” Williams said. “And Jay called me back a few days later and told me how much it meant to him. And he’s a great guy. He’s one of the giants of our game.”

When the original iteration of the Big East split in 2013, with universities with top football programs like Syracuse, Louisville, Connecticut and West Virginia leaving for other leagues, Wright helped keep the ‘new Big East’ together: He merged the coaches under his leadership with a vision to build a basketball-centric league that could rival the Power 5 schools that offer both basketball and football.

“Obviously he’s been great,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said in a phone interview. “His leadership when the Big East was sort of reformed, I think that’s why the league is where it is today. He was all in from the start to make sure it would work and was in it. definitely a big part.

Wright is leaving just as two of his most accomplished players, Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels, ended their careers after five years due to the extra year of eligibility granted to athletes by the NCAA in the wake of the pandemic. He congratulated both players after their season-ending loss to Kansas.

“At Villanova, the college’s mission is community, love, and truth,” Wright said. He added of Gillespie: “He’s a Villanova man. He’s a big man from Villanova. And that’s a big part of our program. It’s not just about being a basketball player, it’s about being a Villanova man. And he’s one of the best of all time.

If two-time Big East Player of the Year Gillespie continues to play in the NBA next season, he would become the league’s 10th active former Villanova player. The group includes six-time All-Star Miami’s Kyle Lowry; Jalen Brunson of Dallas, who scored 41 points in a playoff game this week; and Defensive Player of the Year finalist Mikal Bridges of Phoenix.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Villanova Hall of Fame basketball coach Jay Wright retires
Villanova Hall of Fame basketball coach Jay Wright retires
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