By Will Sohn
As spring approaches, sports fans eagerly await March 13, which marks the start of March Madness, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament that features 68 college basketball teams. Many local sports fans still associate this time of year with Villanova’s 2016 championship win.
One thing sports fans may not know, though, is that Villanova’s head coach, Jay Wright, is a Council Rock graduate. Wright, 56, was born in 1961 and attended the original Council Rock High School (Class of ’79), which eventually became North.
Wright was a gifted two-sport athlete who was good enough to play basketball in college. Many believed he had a chance to play professional baseball; however, Wright gave up baseball to play more spring and summer basketball. Wright continued his basketball career at the collegiate level and graduated from Bucknell University in 1983.
After graduating from college, Wright got his first job as an assistant coach for the University of Rochester (Divison III). Three years later, he secured his first Divison I college basketball coaching job as an assistant coach at Drexel University. The next year he moved on to an assistant coach position at Villanova for five years. He then transferred to UNLV for 2 years before he earned the head coach spot at Hofstra University in 1994. Finally, he returned to Villanova as the new head coach in 2001, a position he still holds.
Wright has led the Villanova Wildcats to five Big East conference championships and 12 NCAA Tournament appearances in his 16 seasons as head coach. Most notably, Wright led Villanova to the 2016 NCAA National Championship and another Final Four appearance in 2009.
As of now, the Wildcats are 24-3 overall and sit with an 11-3 division record behind Xavier for second place in the Big East Conference this season in a tight race for first.
Wright made many stops in his lengthy career, but he has parlayed those experiences into much recent success with more to come. These successes prove that Jay Wright is an example of hard work and dedication who can serve as a model for students also working hard each year for future success.