Jay Wright Says He 'Didn't Have The Edge' Anymore After Retirement From Villanova

Adam WellsApril 22, 2022

Jay Wright speaks at a news conference about his resignation as NCAA college basketball coach at Villanova, in Villanova, Pa., Friday, April 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

In his first public comments since announcing his retirement as the Villanova men's basketball coach, Jay Wright addressed why he decided to walk away from the program after 21 seasons. 

Speaking to reporters Friday, Wright said he "started to feel like I didn’t have the edge that I’ve always had."

The 60-year-old went on to say he "just knew it was the right time" to step down because he didn't feel like he would be able to give 100 percent to the team. 

"The edge always came natural to me," Wright said. "So I started evaluating. I would never have to think about anything. I started to think like, 'I have to get myself fired up here. Let’s go.'"

Wright went on to say that some of the changes in college sports, particularly name, image and likeness rules, played a small part in his decision. 

"I'm so impressed with how we handled NIL as a team," he said. "Some of our guys made really good money. And they had 3.8 GPAs and they went to a Final Four. But there is a side of it where ... [new Villanova head coach Kyle Neptune and our younger assistants] are at another level than me when it comes to that stuff. They're really visionary about it. And I feel like I'm the coach that's trying to keep up with it. That impacted us where we felt like this is a good time."

The results on the court didn't suggest that Wright was losing his touch. The Wildcats won the Big East tournament and were the No. 2 seed in the South Region for the NCAA tournament. They advanced to the Final Four before losing to Kansas. 

Wright was hired as Villanova men's basketball coach in March 2001. He took over a program that made just four NCAA tournament appearances in the previous 10 seasons and hadn't advanced past the second round since the 1987-88 season. 

The Wildcats turned into a national powerhouse under Wright. They made 16 NCAA tournament appearances, winning two national titles in 2016 and 2018. He is the program's all-time leader with 520 career victories.

Neptune, who was an assistant on Wright's staff from 2013-21, went 16-16 last season at Fordham in his first stint as a head coach.