The students' perspective on Villanova Sports.

When Jay Wright Came Close to Leaving Villanova…

-Dallas News

275 wins, three NIT appearances, eight trips to the NCAA Tournament (making it every year from 2005 to 2011), four Sweet Sixteens, two Elite Eights, and one Final Four appearance.

Jay Wright has accomplished a good amount in his time here so far at Villanova. Since he took over a program that had its own share of problems and obstacles on and off the court in his first few years here, he has brought the program back into the spotlight. However, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for Wright and Villanova Basketball. The 2011-2012 season brought Villanova’s worst season under Jay Wright’s time here at Villanova. No trip to the Big Dance, and not even the NIT. It began to raise doubt and concern in Jay Wright and Villanova basketball. The following year was a step back in the right direction but there were still miles to go from the excellence that took place in the mid-2000’s. Villanova would defeat three top 5 teams and yet frustratingly fall to teams like Seton Hall, Columbia, and Providence. The Wildcats were on the bubble but got one last push by winning the big games at the tail end of the season. It was a roller coaster season but in the end, they made it to the other side and played in the NCAA Tournament after  missing out the year before. Just as the Wildcats persisted and hung in a year ago, they have done the same this year.

They weren’t expected to do much, only to finish in the middle of the pack. Jay Wright has brought this team to exceed the expectations before them and define their own destiny and be in control of their own future. They’re currently 18-2 and still going. Just like Jay Wright’s career here so far at Villanova, it wasn’t always easy. There were times this season where they battled back after being down in a game, or crucial calls just didn’t go their way but they kept playing hard until that final buzzer went off. This exciting season could have been the season that never was. Jay Wright doubters and those who exclaimed that he was only a good recruiter and not a good coach almost got their ultimate wish. There was a time he almost left the Main Line. Check out this video, courtesy of Seth Davis and Campus Insiders:

It is some interesting stuff. It is refreshing to see a coach’s loyalty to a program and fulfillment of one’s dreams. He turned down a salary far greater than his own and a shot at coaching in the highest level of basketball, all for the love of Villanova. That’s respectable. Especially as of lately this has been a time where many coaches don’t hesitate to jump ship for another place. Take Andy Enfield, current coach of the USC Trojans, he led Florida Gulf Coast to an amazing run into the Sweet 16 last season that got the media all over the once unknown school. His job offer and decision came shortly after the NCAA Tournament. He like other coaches in the past moved from a smaller school to a bigger one, using the smaller school as a “stepping stone” to a bigger school. Former Butler head coach Brad Stevens had a great thing going for the Bulldogs, giving them a name and putting them on the map. He took Butler to the NCAA finals in back to back seasons, including multiple appearances at the Big Dance. It was shocking for Butler, seeing how his contract was set to last through the 2021-2022 season. Now he coaches for the Boston Celtics. Louisville’s Rick Pitino journeyed around the NCAA and the NBA before he got to where he is now. I’m glad Jay is here to stay and it seems that he won’t be leaving for a while. Let’s see where this season will go, and hope it’ll be a great one. It’s a contract year for him, please pay him what he deserves and keep him here.

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About The Author

Eugene Rapay '16 created "The Bench Mob" in November 2013. He joined the Villanova Times in 2012 as a writer. A Westchester, NY native, who will bring top quality coverage of all things Villanova sports.


January 2014
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