Jay Wright Denies 76ers' Head Coaching Rumors, Says He's Not Leaving Villanova

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2020

Villanova head coach Jay Wright watches his team play DePaul during an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Chicago. Villanova won the game 91-71. (AP Photo/Jeff Haynes)
Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

Villanova head coach Jay Wright denied he was a candidate for the Philadelphia 76ers' opening in a statement Wednesday:

The 76ers fired Brett Brown after a first-round playoff exit, and Wright immediately popped up as a potential candidate to replace him, as Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported.

However, the 58-year-old said he will return to Villanova for what will be his 20th season at the Philadelphia school.

Wright has put together an impressive resume during his time with the Wildcats, including two national championships in 2016 and 2018 and a 472-182 (.721) record with the team. He also has seven regular-season Big East titles and four conference-tournament titles in this span.

Villanova also heads into 2020-21 with a roster that could contend for another championship and is ranked No. 2 in the preseason national rankings by ESPN's Jeff Borzello. The Wildcats are led by Collin Gillespie, Caleb Daniels and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, and they could have been enough for Wright to stay in his current location.

The 76ers certainly have an attractive opening, especially for a Pennsylvania native like Wright who has spent most of his career in the Philadelphia area.

The team has two young All-Stars under team control in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, along with proven players like Al Horford and Tobias Harris. Despite suffering a first-round sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics, there is enough talent to contend for a title.

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Philadelphia must simply look elsewhere for its next head coach, with Tyronn Lue and assistant Ime Udoka also considered top candidates.