Sources — Villanova’s Jay Wright expected to retire as head coach; Kyle Neptune likely to take over

Hall of Fame coach Jay Wright is expected to retire after 21 seasons as men’s basketball head coach at Villanova, sources confirmed to ESPN.

Fordham’s Kyle Neptune, who spent 10 years under Wright as a video coordinator and assistant coach, is expected to be named his successor, sources said.

Wright has called a team meeting for Wednesday night, according to sources.

Wright, 60, has been the head coach at Villanova since 2001. He won two national championships, in 2016 and 2018, and made four Final Four appearances, including one this past season. He was named Naismith Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2016, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021.

Wright went 520-197 during his 21 seasons with the Wildcats, winning at least 30 games on six occasions, the sixth-most 30-win seasons in men’s Division I history. He won eight Big East regular-season titles and five Big East conference tournament championships.

Before taking over at Villanova, Wright was the head coach at Hofstra for seven seasons, winning two America East championships and making two NCAA tournament appearances.

Neptune, Wright’s expected successor, has been the head coach at Fordham for one season. He led the Rams to a 16-16 campaign, a 14-win improvement on their 2020-21 season.

The news of Wright’s expected retirement, which was first reported by The Athletic, sent shockwaves through the college basketball world, where Wright is among the most respected coaches. With the recent retirement of Mike Krzyzewski, Wright was one of just three active coaches to have won multiple national titles. (Bill Self and Rick Pitino are the others.)

“It’s a tremendous loss for college basketball,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim told ESPN, adding that Wright “absolutely” is one of the best coaches of the modern era.

Boeheim was among the many coaches contacted by ESPN who were stunned by the news. Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said he was also surprised.

“He has really achieved it all and done it all with class,” Brey told ESPN. “It’s a big loss for the college game.”

Wright’s wins, titles and accomplishments speak for themselves. But the theme going through the sport on Wednesday was the way that Wright handled himself.

“I’ve known Jay his entire coaching career,” former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese told ESPN. “He is a great coach but a better person.”

ESPN’s Pete Thamel contributed to this report.


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