In absolutely shocking news it was reported Wednesday evening that Villanova’s Hall of Fame head coach Jay Wright will be stepping down and retiring. Still at the top of his game and only 60 years old, his retirement comes as a shock to pretty much everyone. Especially as it comes just weeks after he led the Wildcats back to the Final Four.
Jay Wright Retiring, Kyle Neptune Takes Over At Villanova
We had about 40 seconds to discuss who Jay Wright’s replacement would be until it was reported that Fordham head coach Kyle Neptune will be taking over. Neptune was the video coordinator for Jay Wright at Villanova from 2008-2010 and then returned as an assistant coach from 2013-2021. In his first and only season as Fordham’s head coach, Neptune led the Rams to a 16-16 record, their best mark since 2016. Even though it was just one year, he looked like he could be the guy to finally turn around a Fordham program that just can’t win. He did a really good job. Neptune is only 37 years old and is considered to be a rising star. He was already getting into conversations for high-major jobs.
Jay Wright spent the past 21 seasons as the head coach of the Villanova men’s basketball team. He led the program to four Final Fours and two national championships. Villanova is the beast of the Big East year in and year out, and in the recent rare instances where they don’t win the conference then they were still right there. Eight regular-season conference championships, seven of which came in the past nine seasons, and five Big East tournament championships. It very well could have been six if Collin Gillespie hadn’t torn his MCL in 2021. Wright will retire with a 520-197 record at Villanova, good for a 72.5% winning percentage. That is not even to mention the 16 total NCAA Tournament appearances.
His success was not just at Villanova. Before that he went 122-85 (58.9% winning percentage.) in seven seasons at Hofstra, including two America East regular seasons and conference tournament championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances.
This news obviously has a huge impact across the college hoops landscape. The suddenness of the news combined with just who it is, is big. There will be a lot of questions. Is Kyle Neptune ready for this? And what happens to the top 20 recruiting class that the Wildcats have that includes two top 100 players, five-star Cam Whitmore and four-star Mark Armstrong? Can another school step up and dethrone Villanova as the kings of the conference? None of these questions can be answered immediately, so we will just have to wait and see. But one thing is for sure: this news has a massive impact on the college basketball landscape.
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