Jay Wright, 60, retired as head coach of the Villanova University men’s basketball team late Wednesday night. Considering his run of success and relatively young age, Wright’s decision to walk away came as a surprise to many.
But not all were perplexed by the decision. Among those not caught off guard by Wright’s decision are dozens of current and former coaches, including Dan Dakich, host of OutKick’s Don’t @ Me, who has more than a decade of head coaching experience between stops at Bowling Green and Indiana.
“Jay Wright retiring is absolutely a sign that College Hoops is spiraling towards organizing AAU,” Dakich tweeted upon hearing the news.
Dakich then half-jokingly predicted the game will soon go off the rails: “betcha next year a Dad comes out of the stands at a coach or ref.”
Jay Wright retiring is absolutely a sign that College Hoops is spiraling towards organizing AAU.. betcha next year a Dad comes out of the stands at a coach or ref..
— Dan Dakich (@dandakich) April 20, 2022
It’s become apparent in recent years that NIL, the transfer portal, and the popularity of AAU programs have turned the sport upside down. Coaches now have to re-recruit their own players each year just to keep them from jumping ship for a richer NIL deal elsewhere.
Since COVID, NCAA players have been able to transfer to a different school without having to sit out a year, which makes the decision to look for greener pastures that much easier.
Because of all these changes in college athletics, many like Dakich believe that there is no longer a balance between school, coach and player. Current rules, or lack thereof, heavily favor players — and only players. Dakich thinks that will drive more good coaches into early retirement.
“I’ve said for years… At some point college athletics must do what is right for schools and the sport!!,” Dakich tweeted. “Other than Nickelodeon it’s the only industry that caters to the whims of 18-22 yr olds.”
There are, of course, other reasons coaches step away from the game, including the continuous coaching grind and all the time away from family.
“Coached for 33 years. I can count the vacations I took in days rather than weeks. It’s a great life but you can never get away,” said ESPN’s Seth Greenberg, himself a former college coach. “Had multiple long weekends and anniversaries I had to return early to host unofficial visits. April / May were spent fundraising. That is real.”
Dakich agreed with Greenberg, tweeting in part: “Totally get it..great life but greater life being OUT!!”
So at least according to Dakich, Greenberg and many others in the college coaching fraternity, Wright is not wrong.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF