Jay Wright (basketball)

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Jay Wright
Jay Wright 140507-D-HU462-384 (cropped).jpg
Sport(s) Basketball
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Villanova
Record 354–157 (.693)
Biographical details
Born (1961-12-24) December 24, 1961 (age 54)
Churchville, Pennsylvania
Playing career
1979–1983 Bucknell
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1984–1986 Rochester (asst.)
1986–1987 Drexel (asst.)
1987–1992 Villanova (asst.)
1992–1994 UNLV (asst.)
1994–2001 Hofstra
2001–present Villanova
Head coaching record
Overall 476–242 (.663)
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
Awards

Jerold Taylor "Jay" Wright, Jr. (born December 24, 1961) is an American college basketball coach. He is currently the men's coach at Villanova University. In 2016, Villanova won the NCAA men’s basketball national championship title game against North Carolina, Wright's first national championship, and Villanova's first since 1985.

Biography[edit]

Education[edit]

Wright is a graduate of Council Rock High School North[1] in Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1983, where he played on the basketball team and became a Brother of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

Coaching career[edit]

Early coaching career[edit]

Upon graduating from college, Wright got his first job as an assistant coach at Division III University of Rochester. In 1986, he got his first position in Division I college basketball as an assistant coach at Drexel University. His next job came as an assistant to Rollie Massimino at Villanova, where he remained from 1987–1992. In 1992, he moved with Massimino to UNLV, where he remained until 1994.

Hofstra[edit]

In 1994, Wright was named head coach at Hofstra University, which had struggled through most of the 1980s and early '90s. Under Wright, the program slowly and steadily improved, and by 1999 the Pride were a premier team in the America East Conference. They won the conference championship in 2000 and 2001, and from 1999–2001, went 72–22, including two NCAA tournament appearances. Wright was named America East Coach of the Year in 1999–2000 and 2000–2001. He was also tabbed Eastern Basketball's Coach of the Year in 1999–2000.

Wright took the Pride to the Postseason three times:

  • 1999 NIT: Hofstra was defeated by Rutgers University 58–45 in the first round
  • 2000 NCAA Tournament: As a #14 seed, Hofstra lost to Oklahoma State University 86–66 in the first round.
  • 2001 NCAA Tournament: #13 seed Hofstra was defeated in the first round 61–48 by UCLA.

Villanova[edit]

2001–2004 Seasons: NIT[edit]

On March 27, 2001, Wright was named head coach at Villanova, becoming the eighth coach in the 81-year history of the program. Wright inherited a mediocre team from previous coach Steve Lappas, and in Wright's first season, they made the NIT. In 2002, Wright was able to secure one of the top rated recruiting classes in the country, led by McDonald's All-American center Jason Fraser. However the Wildcats had a mediocre 2002–2003 season, which was marred by a phone card abuse scandal that eventually resulted in suspensions to over half the roster, though penalties from the NCAA were avoided. The Wildcats again made the NIT but did not advance far. The 2003–2004 season saw more playing time for the talented young players from the previous recruiting class, but it also resulted in a mediocre season and another NIT appearance.

2004–05 Season: Sweet Sixteen[edit]

In the 2004–2005 season, Wright's fourth as head coach, the team made real strides. They finished 22–7, including an upset over #2 Kansas, and earned a fifth seed in the NCAA Tournament. Villanova defeated New Mexico and Florida to advance to the sweet 16. However their tournament run came to an end next round after a narrow loss to North Carolina, the No. 1 seed (and eventual champion). Although the team lost by a point to the Tar Heels and were eliminated, the stage was set for a special season in 2006.

2005–06 Season: Elite Eight[edit]

The 2005–2006 season saw the Wildcats ranked in the pre-season top four of both major polls, thanks to the return of most players from the previous season. Led by seniors Allan Ray and Randy Foye, and explosive sophomore Kyle Lowry, the Wildcats lived up to the hype and finished with a 25–4 regular season record, including a 14–2 record in the Big East regular season, which tied them with University of Connecticut for first place in the conference.

In the 2006 NCAA Tournament, Wright's experienced team earned a #1 seed for the first time in school history and posted victories over Monmouth in the first round and Arizona in the second. Wright's squad then narrowly edged Boston College to advance to the Elite 8 for the first time since 1988. However, the Wildcats run ended there, as they lost to eventual champion Florida. This marked the second consecutive year in which Wright's Wildcats were eliminated by the eventual national champion.

For his performance in the 2005–2006 season, Wright received national coach of the year honors from CBS/Chevrolet; the Naismith Awards; and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). He was also named the Big East Coach of the Year.

2006–07 Season: First Round[edit]

The 2006–07 squad had to replace three starters, but thanks in part to the healthy return of Curtis Sumpter, who had missed the previous season with an ACL injury, and McDonald's All-American Scottie Reynolds the Wildcats made it back to the NCAA tournament for the third straight season. With a 22–10 record, they were seeded 9th but lost to Kentucky in the first round.

In the 2007 off season, Wright once again came up with a highly rated recruiting class, this time led by McDonald's All-American Corey Stokes and Jordan Brand All-American Corey Fisher.

2007–08 Season: Sweet Sixteen[edit]

The 2007–2008 season saw Villanova struggle at times, including a five-game losing streak in the middle of the season. Wright and the Wildcats were able to rebound to get a 12 seed (the final at-large seed) in the NCAA Tournament. They upset fifth-seeded Clemson in round one, and beat Siena in round two to advance to their third Sweet 16 in four years. The team once again lost to the eventual champs, which this time was the Kansas Jayhawks.

2008–09 Season: Final Four[edit]

The 2008–2009 team, led by senior Dante Cunningham, junior Scottie Reynolds and breakout sixth-man Corey Fisher, streaked to a fourth-place finish in the Big East, and a double bye in the conference tournament. The third-seeded Wildcats overcame a double-digit halftime deficit to underdog American to avoid a first-round upset in the NCAA Tournament. The team then defeated sixth-seeded UCLA by twenty points to make the program's fourth sweet sixteen in five years. In its Sweet Sixteen matchup against Duke, the Wildcats used timely perimeter defense to score a twenty-three-point victory, and a trip to the Elite Eight. In a back-and-forth Elite Eight game with Pitt, Scottie Reynolds came up big with a game-winning shot to put Villanova back in the Final Four for the first time since their National Championship run in 1985. Villanova then fell to The University of North Carolina, the eventual champions, in the National Semifinals at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan by a score of 83–69.[2]

2009–10: Second Round Upset[edit]

For the 2009 – 2010 season, Wright brought in a recruiting class in the top five of the national rankings.[3] The class was highlighted by point guard Maalik Wayns (Philadelphia/Roman Catholic), forwards Isaiah Armwood (Rockville, Md./Montrose Christian School) and Mouphtaou Yarou (Rockville, Md./Montrose Christian School) and guard Dominic Cheek (Jersey City, NJ / St. Anthony's). Taylor King, a former McDonald's All-American and Duke transfer, also joined the rotation, after redshirting the '08–'09 season. The Wildcats earned a two seed in the NCAA tournament, but after a rocky start in the tournament, highlighted by Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher being benched to start the game, fell in the second round of play to Saint Mary's.

2014–15: Another Second Round Upset[edit]

Villanova was the #1 seed in the East and lost in the second round to North Carolina State, the #8 seed.

2015–16: National Champions[edit]

Villanova earned a #2 seed in the South Region, defeating UNC-Asheville, Iowa, Miami and Kansas to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2009. Villanova defeated Oklahoma in the national semifinal, 95-51, which was the largest margin of victory in Final Four history. The Wildcats then proceeded to defeat North Carolina in the national title game, 77-74, on a 3-point shot by Kris Jenkins as time expired, earning Wright his first championship.

In addition to the record shattering 44 point defeat of Oklahoma in the Final Four, the 2016 championship run included numerous other notable achievements. They were the first team in 31 years (since the 1985 Villanova team) who dispatched four straight AP top 10 teams (Miami, Kansas, Oklahoma and North Carolina) in their run, and 5 total AP ranked teams (Iowa, in addition to the previously mentioned teams). They were also the only team, again since the 1985 Villanova championship squad, to beat four straight top 3 seeds on their championship run: two 1 seeds (Kansas and North Carolina) , one 2 seed (Oklahoma) and one 3 seed (Miami). Villanova's performance included two of the most offensively efficient games ever recorded since the analytics era began in 2002, tallying 1.56 and 1.51 points per possession against 3-seed Miami and 2-seed Oklahoma, respectively.[4] Villanova's average margin of victory for the tournament was nearly 21 points per game, and the only teams they defeated by less than 19 points were Kansas and North Carolina (the overall first and second seeded teams in the tournament, whom they beat by 5 and 3 points, respectively). It has been called perhaps the most dominant tournament championship run of all time, and the most dominant of the analytics era by a wide margin. [5]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Hofstra Pride (America East Conference) (1994–2001)
1994–95 Hofstra 10–18 5–11 9th
1995–96 Hofstra 9–18 5–12 T–7th
1996–97 Hofstra 12–15 9–9 4th
1997–98 Hofstra 19–12 11–7 T–3rd
1998–99 Hofstra 22–10 14–4 3rd NIT First Round
1999–00 Hofstra 24–7 16–2 1st NCAA First Round
2000–01 Hofstra 26–5 16–2 1st NCAA First Round
Hofstra: 122–85 (.589) 76–47 (.618)
Villanova Wildcats (Big East Conference) (2001–present)
2001–02 Villanova 19–13 7–9 5th NIT Quarterfinals
2002–03 Villanova 15–16 8–8 T–3rd NIT First Round
2003–04 Villanova 18–17 6–10 11th NIT Quarterfinals
2004–05 Villanova 24–8 11–5 T–3rd NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2005–06 Villanova 28–5 14–2 T–1st NCAA Elite Eight
2006–07 Villanova 22–11 9–7 7th NCAA First Round
2007–08 Villanova 22–13 9–9 T–8th NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2008–09 Villanova 30–8 13–5 4th NCAA Final Four
2009–10 Villanova 25–8 13–5 T–2nd NCAA Second Round
2010–11 Villanova 21–12 9–9 T–9th NCAA First Round
2011–12 Villanova 13–19 5–13 T–13th
2012–13 Villanova 20–14 10–8 T–7th NCAA Round of 64
2013–14 Villanova 29–5 16–2 1st NCAA Round of 32
2014–15 Villanova 33–3 16–2 1st NCAA Round of 32
2015–16 Villanova 35–5 16–2 1st NCAA Champions
Villanova: 354–157 (.693) 157–83 (.654)
Total: 476–242 (.663)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

USA Basketball[edit]

Wright has coached, as a head coach or assistant coach, United States basketball teams three times in international competitions. He led Team USA to a gold medal at the 2005 University Games as head coach, and was an assistant coach in the 2000 World Championship for Young Men Qualifying Tournament.[6] Wright coached the American team in the 2007 Pan Am Games to a fifth-place finish, with a 3–2 record.

NBA players coached by Wright[edit]

Fashionable Four[edit]

Wright is a multiple winner of GQ's Fashionable Four, an award given to the best-dressed coach in college basketball.[8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]