Jay Wright is the head coach for the Villanova Men’s Basketball Team. He has a total of 33 years of coaching experience under his belt, 21 of those years with the Wildcats. He is a two time Naismith College Coach of the Year, a five time Big East Coach of the Year and the two time America East Coach of the Year. His most recent victory was last seasons NCAA tournament where he and the wildcats took the championship in a nail-biter against North Carolina in the last seconds with a three point jump shot. What makes Jay Wright such a successful and respectable coach, is that he treats all of his players like equals and with discipline. He sees his players and his team as students and young men before athletes, which is very uncommon for a D1 coach.
Last season the Wildcats were going up against Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Basketball team. Jay Wright benched their starting center, Daniel Ochefu, for the first half while going up against one of the top teams in the country. The reason for this absence was not known until the announcers caught the gossip from the student section that Jay Wright found out that Ochefu was late to a class. Another two situations like this have happened during NCAAs. In the past few years, Villanova has had a 1 or 2 seeding for the NCAA tournament. Before their 2015 championship win, they hadn’t made it past the second round for two tournaments in a row. There were multiple factors that went into their upsets early in the bracket, but the benching of two of his starting players was a deal breaker. Jay Wright’s statement on the benching of his two best players was a “minor teaching point.” We found out that teaching point was because point guard, Scottie Reynolds got into a fight with shooting guard, Corey Fisher about a girl.
Wright is a respectful coach and wants to represent Villanova in the best ways. He avoids conflict and scandal by hitting the hammer hard. It does not matter to him that he benches his two best players during a March Madness game because his top priority is to make student athletes who are positive representations of their school. His dedication for positive imagery range widely. From team community service trips, to volunteering on campus, to making sure every player smiles in the team photo and headshot. Like all college students, his players make mistakes and he understands that, but he always wants them to be learning and improving. His players show high dedication and respect to him and the team because Wright shows the same respect and dedication to them. He has refused big time college coaching offers as well as NBA positions that he has turned down for his Wildcats.
“I can say right now that in my mind I plan to stay at Villanova,” he said. “But I also don’t want to be a liar. I want to stay. I know I want to stay, but I just say I hope I can stay because I’ve learned from the past how crazy things can be. I hope I can stay at Villanova because this is where I want to be.” “When I went through it before, the offers were new and it was shocking,” Wright said. “Now I kind of know what they’re going to be, and I’m really comfortable. I want to stay. I really want to stay.”
Jay Wright has overcome great wins and losses. In the beginning of his time at Villanova he was expected to be fired in his 4th season with the wildcats if they didn’t pull off a successful season- they ended that year 28 – 4 and a trip to the Sweet 16. He has sent players to the NBA to Europe and to coaching staffs. Just an example of the influence of Jay Wright’s coaching is with current Raptor’s point guard, Kyle Lowry. Lowry is a back to back all star team member, olympic gold medalist and Eastern Conference finalist. He is also that one freshman that Jay Wright almost kicked off the team before even starting fall ball practices his first year as a Wildcat. Wright was able to teach Lowry discipline, respect and work ethic for his team, and now he uses one of his former favorite players as an example to inspire his current team.