Jay Wright has been a staple of the Philadelphia basketball scene for more than two decades, turning Villanova from decent program into one of the best in the nation. And now, after three Final Four appearances in the last seven seasons — not to mention two national titles — one of the best coaches in basketball history and a member of the hall of fame is calling it a career and turning the Nova program over to his former assistant, Kyle Neptune.
Just how much winning did Jay Wright do?
So, how much success did Jay Wright have at Villanova? Obviously, a lot. But it wasn’t always a forgone conclusion that the Wildcats would be playing deep into March. And before building Villanova into a powerhouse, Wright spent seven seasons at Hofstra, turning them from a 10-win team in his first season to a 26-5 squad with back-to-back tourney appearances.
Here’s a season-by-season look at Wright’s career record as a head coach, dating back to his first year at Hofstra in 1994 and going through his final tourney run at ‘Nova.
Overall, Wright finishes with a 642-282 record (.695) as a head coach, including 520-197 (.725) at Villanova.
Can Kyle Neptune keep Villanova on top?
Obviously, the big question for Villanova fans — and college basketball fans in general — is who is Kyle Neptune, the guy tasked with replacing Wright on the Main Line. While there’s a lot to know about the new coach, his philosophies and his ability to recruit, his past experience is telling as well.
And as a head coach, there hasn’t been much. But if Wright is indeed one of the best coaches in the game, then Neptune learned from the best, serving as an assistant under Wright from 2013-21. The longtime Villanova assistant got his start as an assistant under another former Philly coach, Joe Mihalich, at Niagara, and spent three seasons there (2010-2013) before returning to Villanova, where he had perviously served as a video coordinator from 2008-10.
Those next eight years that Neptune spent working alongside Wright just so happen to include the Wildcats’ greatest run of success under their now-former coach, including two titles. And it’s not like Neptune doesn’t have any experience running a team on his own.
Last year, the Lehigh product spent the season helping turn Fordham’s program around. After winning just 11 games combined over the previous two seasons, Neptune’s Rams won 16 total, including eight conference wins, something Fordham hadn’t done in Atlantic 10 play since his predecessor Jeff Neubauer’s first season in 2015-16.
Now, with just one year of head coaching experience, he takes over one of the best programs in the country.