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Jay Wright stepping down from Villanova

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One of college basketball’s premier programs is losing its leader.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Semifinals-Villanova vs Kansas Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past two decades, Jay Wright has transitioned Villanova from a good basketball school to one of the most successful programs of his era. There’s no doubt Villanova has become a college basketball powerhouse thanks to Wright’s efforts.

However, that has come to an end, as the Hall of Fame coach has shockingly retired.

Wright made the announcement Wednesday. Fordham head coach and Jay Wright protégé Kyle Neptune is expected to be his replacement.

Wright won the NCAA Tournament with Nova in 2017 and 2019. Their 2017 team had a mere three losses. There was a 5-year stretch where Wright, in total, had just 21 losses with Nova. He was 520-197 overall in his 21 seasons.

The Big East was run by Nova with Wright steering the ship, having also produced many high-quality NBA players during his time with the Wildcats.

This most recent run was a heart-breaking advantage, mainly because of the questions of what could have been. Junior guard Justin Moore tore his Achilles against Houston in the Elite Eight.

Then, playing only a six-man rotation, had to take on the championship-winning Jayhawks in the national semifinals. That did not turn out well, but it was close enough to have considered Moore the difference in a potential Wildcats win.

Nonetheless, that will be Wright’s last time coaching the Wildcats unless something drastic changes.

Wright will go down as one of the best coaches of his era, and while it’s a shame he’ll be stepping down, he’s heading off into the sunset on a high note.