Wright resigns as Villanova coach, Neptune takes over

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jay Wright shocked school basketball Wednesday night time along with his instant resignation at Villanova, the Large East program he led to 2 nationwide championships and 4 Remaining Fours in a Corridor of Fame profession.

The 60-year-old Wright guided Villanova to titles in 2016 and 2018 and simply led the Wildcats to the Remaining 4, the place they misplaced to nationwide champion Kansas. He went 520-197 in 21 seasons on the faculty and 642-282 total, additionally teaching Hofstra from 1994–2001.

“It is time for us to enter a brand new period of Villanova basketball,” Wright stated in a press release. “After 35 years in teaching, I’m proud and excited handy over the reins to Villanova’s subsequent coach. I’m excited to stay part of Villanova and stay up for working with (Villanova) and the remainder of the management crew.”

Kyle Neptune, who served on the Villanova teaching employees earlier than accepting the pinnacle teaching place at Fordham in 2021, returned to interchange Wright.

“When in search of a successor, we wished a candidate who might navigate the altering panorama of collegiate athletics and preserve Villanova ready of power — now and sooner or later,” Villanova athletic director Mark Jackson stated. “After assembly with a number of distinctive candidates, we discovered all these attributes and extra in Kyle Neptune. Kyle shortly stood out for his basketball data, recruiting savvy and pure skill to attach with student-athletes and coaches.”

Wright’s resolution was sudden and there was no instant phrase the transfer was well being associated or that he was leaving for the NBA. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Corridor of Fame in 2021.

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Wright will stay at Villanova and keep concerned in fundraising, advising, training and extra.

He joined North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski because the third coach with a number of championship to step down during the last two years.

Earlier than he arrived, Villanova was identified for upsetting Georgetown within the 1985 nationwide championship sport and the occasional journey to the NCAA Event.

Wright wanted three years to construct a basis earlier than Villanova broke by means of with a visit to the 2005 Candy 16. An Elite Eight look adopted the following 12 months and the Wildcats reached the Remaining 4 in 2009.

Villanova gained its first nationwide title beneath Wright in 2016 on Kris Jenkins’ buzzer-beater and decimated the NCAA Event area in 2018, profitable each sport by double digits on its strategy to the nationwide title.

He was chosen AP coach of the last decade in 2020.

The 37-year-old Neptune was on Wright’s employees for the 2009 Remaining 4 crew, then later spent three seasons as an assistant at Niagara earlier than he returned to the Wildcats in 2013. He went 16-16 in his lone season at Fordham.

“I feel he’s extra able to be a head coach than most younger guys X’s and O’s-wise and I feel he’s obtained nice character, nice management abilities, I feel he’s going to be an impressive head coach,” Wright stated when Neptune was employed at Fordham.

Wright’s resolution comes after one other profitable season:

— He reached 25 or extra victories for the tenth time in his 22 seasons.

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— The Wildcats have gained a regular-season or postseason convention championship in every of the 9 seasons for the reason that Large East reconfigured in 2013.

— The Wildcats earned a No. 1 or No. 2 seed within the NCAA Event for the eighth time beneath Wright.

Throughout Wright’s tenure, he coached a number of future NBA stars, together with Kyle Lowry, Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, and Saddiq Bey.

“Ohhhhhhh thats robust !!! @kyleneptune WELL DESERVED,” Bridges, now a star with the Phoenix Suns, tweeted.

Wright was employed as head coach at Hofstra and went 207-122 with two NCAA Event appearances in seven seasons. Employed in 2001 to interchange Steve Lappas, the Wildcats went to the NIT in Wright’s first three seasons.

“Merely a exceptional profession,” stated former Villanova AD Vince Nicastro, who employed Wright. “Might be thought to be top-of-the-line coaches in school basketball historical past – and even higher particular person. Has gained with integrity, class and charm. And has served as a terrific position mannequin for his gamers and colleagues.”

The Wildcats completed 30-8 this season and Wright’s last sport was an 81-65 loss to Kansas within the Remaining 4.

Wright, a Churchville, Pennsylvania native, performed school basketball at Bucknell and began as an assistant at Rochester and Drexel. He spent 5 seasons at Villanova as Rollie Massimino’s assistant, then adopted him to UNLV for an additional two years earlier than taking the pinnacle teaching job at Hofstra in 1994.

He rejected quite a few NBA and different school overtures by means of the years and remained steadfast in his dedication to the Wildcats. Wright had stints teaching groups within the Pan American Video games and World College Video games; and served as an assistant coach beneath San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for Group USA.

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Wright was scheduled to debate his resolution at a press convention on Friday.

Extra AP school basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25