Skip to main content

Jay Wright Discusses Decision to Retire During Villanova Press Conference

The latest retirement by a college basketball legend may be the most surprising we’ve had in some time. At just 60-years-old, with two recent national championships under his belt, Jay Wright has stepped down at Villanova.

News of the surprising move broke on Wednesday evening. On Friday, Wright held his retirement press conference, along with the introduction of his successor Kyle Neptune. He discussed how things played out over the last few months.

He said that thoughts about retirement began to emerge during the season, and he told athletic director Mark Jackson that it would be his final year at the end of the regular season, per John Fanta.

Wright said that he felt that he felt that he began to have trouble giving it the same “100%” he asks of his players, and even with the Jackson and other Villanova higher-ups trying to convince him to stay, he knew it was the right time to step away.

“During this season it started to hit me that it was just the right time,” Wright said. “I started to feel like I didn’t have the edge that I’ve always had. The edge always came natural to me. So I started evaluating it ...

“I started thinking, ‘You better get yourself fired up here. Let’s go.’ We always ask our players, ‘You’re either 100% in or you’re against us.’ … We couldn’t ask the players to give 100% and I’m giving 70%.”

The Wildcats wouldn’t make it easy on him down the stretch after the decision was reached. The team won the Big East tournament and went on to reach the Final Four for the fourth time in his tenure, falling to eventual national champion Kansas in the semifinal, 81–65.

When asked by Mike Sielski of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Wright admitted that the advent of NIL and the transfer portal did play “a little” bit of a factor in the decision as well, saying his younger assistants are “visionary” in that area, while he had to “keep up with it.”

Wright says he doesn’t have definitive plans for retirement, but he will continue to be involved at Villanova, per Adam Zagoria.

His successor Neptune was a member of Villanova’s staff from 2013 to ’21 before taking over as coach of Fordham, where he went 16–16 this season. The Rams were just 2–12 the year before.

More CBB Coverage: