Villanova’s esteemed coach, Jay Wright, has been named the 2015-2016 Naismith Coach of the Year.
“I’m extremely proud to accept the Naismith Coach of the Year award on behalf of our staff and the Villanova basketball team,” Wright said. “I know the great history of this award and our whole program is humbled to be honored with this year’s Naismith award.”
For Wright, the honor is the second of his career, as he previously won the award in the 2005-2006 campaign. In that season, the ‘Cats came up one game short of the Final Four, losing to the eventual champion Florida.
This time around, however, there is a much different feel.
The award comes on the heels of the Wildcats impressive run to the National Championship game, the program’s first appearance since 1985.
“Jay’s superb leadership and coaching acumen has never been more evident than it was this season,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “While many schools enjoyed tremendous successes, we really admire what Villanova was able to accomplish, which culminated in a Final Four berth.”
Wright’s current version of his Villanova squad attained the team’s first ever #1 regular season ranking in both the AP and Coaches’ polls, while amassing the most wins in a single season in program history.
On top of being named Naismith Coach of the Year, Wright also added another Big East Coach of the Year last month, marking the third straight time he won that distinction. This year he shared the award with Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard.
Three other coaches were up for consideration: Indiana’s Tom Crean, Kansas’ Bill Self, and lastly, Xavier’s Chris Mack.
“GQ Jay” boasted a 2-1 record against the nation’s elite program leaders. Wright split the season series with Mack and the Musketeers, while knocking off Self and the Jayhawks in the Elite Eight just over a week ago.
Wright and company will look to cement his legacy and prove the award voters right, when they face off against perennial powerhouse North Carolina in the National Championship.