One of the top coaches in men’s college basketball is retiring. Villanova’s Jay Wright is calling it a career at age-60 after leading the Wildcats to the Final Four this past season.
NBA insider Shams Charania first reported the news and said Wright will make a final decision soon. Stadium’s Jeff Goodman confirmed the news and said Wright is calling a team meeting to inform his players.
Villanova is set to hire Fordham head coach Kyle Neptune, according to Goodman. Neptune was previously an assistant under Wright at Villanova before leaving last season to take his first head coaching job. Wright eventually posted a retirement announcement to social media:
Here’s the initial tweet from Goodman:
Men’s college basketball lost North Carolina head coach Roy Williams to surprising retirement before last season. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski famously held a retirement tour this past season and has now given up his job to former assistant Jon Scheyer after losing to UNC in the Final Four.
Wright led Villanova to national championships in 2016 and 2018. He became head coach at Villanova in 2001 after seven seasons at Hofstra. He compiled a 520-197 record with the Wildcats, which is good for a winning percentage of 72.5 percent.
A senior-laden group led the Wildcats to a Big East tournament championship and Wright’s fourth Final Four appearance with the program this past season. Villanova has three top-100 recruits coming in for next season, led by McDonald’s All-American forward Cam Whitmore. It will be fascinating to see if Neptune can retain the incoming talent headed to the program.
Fifth-year seniors Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels are the biggest departures from the team due to graduation. Gillespie was the Big East Player of the Year this past season. Villanova’s season ended to Kansas in the Final Four before the Jayhawks won the national title.
Wright led Villanova to eight Big East regular season titles and five conference tournament titles. He produced numerous NBA players, including Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson and Phoenix Suns wing Mikal Bridges, who both starred for the 2018 team. Wright’s tenure at Villanova will perhaps best be remembered for Kris Jenkins’ game-winning buzzer-beater to stun North Carolina and win Wright’s first national title back in 2016. Our pals at Secret Base made a video about that.
Who is Kyle Neptune: Meet Villanova’s new coach
Neptune is a 37-year-old from Brooklyn who was a first-year head coach at Fordham last season. He led his team to a 16-16 record in the A-10. Neptune was previously an assistant under Wright at Villanova from 2013–2021. He began his coaching career at Villanova as a video coordinator in 2008.
As a player, Neptune played four years at Lehigh and then played professionally in Lithuania and Puerto Rico.
We’ll update this story as it develops.