Jay Wright, the now former coach of Villanova men’s basketball team, abruptly retired Wednesday evening, leaving more questions than answers.
Mainly, why would a coach in the prime of his life who has won two national championships and who earns more than $6 million per season walk away?
The answer: he felt he no longer had “the edge.”
As Wright, 60, explained during a retirement press conference Friday, the decision was anything but hastily made. It had been in the works for some time.
“I started to feel just like I didn’t have the edge that I’ve always had where the edge always came natural to me, so I started evaluating it,” Wright said about his frame of mind last season.
Once those thoughts entered his mind, Wright, who coached the Wildcats for 21 seasons, knew it was time to step away.
“I would never have to think about anything. I started to think like, ‘I have to get myself fired up here. Let’s go.'”
— Alicia Roberts (@ARobertsCBS) April 22, 2022
During his presser, Wright admitted that he told those close to him, both inside and outside of the program, that he would likely be stepping down at the conclusion of the season.
Still, Wright wrestled with the decision until around the time of the Final Four. After his team lost to North Carolina, Wright concluded that, rather than continue on with a ‘Nova team that’s poised to compete for conference and national championships year in and year out, he owed it to his players to walk away since he could no longer fully commit.
“We couldn’t ask the players, you’ve got to give 100% and I’m giving 70%. I just knew it was the right time,” insisted Wright.
He leaves Villanova with five Big East titles, four Final Four appearances, six seasons of 30 or more wins, two national championships (2016, 2018) and universal respect amongst players and coaches past and present.
“The greatest thing for us has always been just to be the coach at Villanova,” a tearful Wright said, reflecting on his Villanova tenure. “Accolades or winning games is not as big as being the coach at Villanova.”
Spoken like a guy who never lost his edge.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF