Villanova Wildcats Head Coach Jay Wright Elected Into Hall of Fame Class of 2021

Published 05/17/2021, 5:00 PM EDT


As the 2020 Hall of Fame ceremony got over, the members for the 2021 class were also announced. Named among the members is Villanova Wildcats head coach Jay Wright. Although his career isn’t over yet, his accomplishments have already been deemed worthy of being in the Hall of Fame.

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Wright becomes the eighth active NCAA basketball coach to join the Hall of Fame. He joins Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, John Calipari, Tom Izzo, Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, and Bill Self in this exclusive club. He is now entering his 27th season of his career, and he has an 612-274 record so far.

After starting his coaching career as an assistant for Rochester, he eventually got his first head coaching role at Hofstra. Following the end of a seven-year stint in 2001, he joined the Villanova Wildcats, where he began his historic journey.

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When Wright arrived, the Wildcats were in a bad position. They had not won the NCAA tournament since 1985 and they had not gone beyond the second round of the tournament since 1988. So there was a lot to do for Wright.

Mar 27, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Villanova Wildcats head coach Jay Wright talks to forward Jermaine Samuels (23) in the second half against the Baylor Bears during the Sweet 16 of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Doug McSchooler-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Wright leads Villanova Wildcats to glory after a slow start

There are some coaches who get off to winning starts right off the bat. However, that was not the case with Wright. He took three years to settle into his job and only qualified for the NCAA tournament in his fourth season. But since then, they became regular participants in March Madness, despite the lack of success.

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In 2006, Wright won his first conference title with the Wildcats and the second one came directly in 2014. The Wildcats were still patient because despite the lack of hardware, the quality of the team was much approved since he took over.

Finally in 2016, he took the Wildcats to their first ever #1 rank on the AP Poll. With all the hype surrounding them, they lived up to expectations and won the 2016 NCAA tournament, their first in over three decades. In 2018, they did it once again as the Wildcats won their third NCAA tournament and second under Wright.

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This made him the most successful coach in Wildcats history and that solidified his status as a Villanova icon. Wright will now enter his 27th season as the Wildcats’ coach and his first as a Hall of Famer.

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Aaron Mathew

1629 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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