Father's Day: Jay, Taylor, Colin and Reilly Wright
JAY WRIGHT has guided the Villanova basketball program to two Final Eights and a Final Four in the last six seasons.
JAY WRIGHT has guided the Villanova basketball program to two Final Eights and a
Final Four in the last six seasons.
"I can't complain," he said. Indeed, his life does not stink. On or off the court. Still, when it comes to highs, nothing really compares to being an assistant coach for one of his three children's teams.
"I love it," he said. "As long as I'm not the person in charge."
Whether that means helping his father coach sons Taylor and Colin to a Little League title 5 years ago, or now getting fields ready for his 11-year-old daughter Reilly's softball games. The person in charge of that is his wife Patty.
"That's part of my job," Wright said. "This one time, it looks like it's going to rain. I'm out there doing the raking and lining, because we're home. So the ump comes up and goes, 'You're Jay Wright.' And he starts talking basketball. I'm like, 'My man, I'm just worried about getting the game in.'
"But Philadelphia really is unique that way. I talk to Jeff Capel at Oklahoma, or Billy Donovan at Florida, or [Kentucky's] John Calipari. It's not like that [there]. They can't do that stuff without getting bothered."
Here, he can just be a proud dad. Even if it means finding a seat down the leftfield line or in a corner of the stands to watch his sons do their three-sport thing at Episcopal Academy. Reilly is involved in even more athletic pursuits.
And more often than not, if logistics align, they're all there for one another.
"There's always going to be conflicts to work around," Jay said. "But years ago, that was a decision we made."
So, as a family, they try their best to maintain a normal existence, despite the fact that Jay obviously has become a visible face locally and nationally. He credits Patty, who he says is "very protective," with being primarily responsible for creating that kind of environment.
"I really did hope that each one would get into all kinds of sports," he said. "I was so lucky. It can get crazy. But it's something we share. That's the way it was when I was growing up."
Taylor, a senior, is the starting quarterback at Episcopal Academy. Colin, a junior, is the backup and heir apparent.
"I want to be there for them, but I want to keep it low-key," Jay said. "Because I'm not Jay Wright at that point. I'm just another father.
"When some of the guys come over the house after practice, Patty cooks for them, they'll sit around talking about the game, imitating coaches, it's fun to be a part of that."
And to the young girls, he's just another coach.
"That's the greatest thing," Jay said. "They don't care [who I am]. It's a whole other world. A couple of times, they had to tell me to relax. [Patty] said, 'There's too much tension in the dugout, and it's you.' "
Guess some DNA traits don't change.
As a big-time college coach, it's all about relationships. On the homefront, it's no different.
"Some things always take priority," Jay said. "Even when they don't have a good game or something, you love that they're good teammates, or coachable.
"You can still be a good person, no matter what. That's Patty's influence, as much as anything. We've tried to instill that in them. That's what I love the most." *