Why is Jay Wright retiring? Villanova coach to call it a career, has no plans to take NBA job

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Jay Wright, Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021.jpeg

Wild, and out.

Villanova head coach Jay Wright has decided to call it a career. He is retiring after 21 seasons in Philadelphia, the university announced Wednesday.

The Athletic's Shams Charania was among the first to report that Wright was retiring. CBS Sports' Matt Norlander reported that Wright informed the team at a meeting Wednesday night.

MORE: Grading the coaching hires, from Shaheen Holloway to Sean Miller

Wright, 60, is stepping away after helping to guide the Wildcats to another Final Four appearance. It was the program's sixth appearance in the NCAA Tournament semifinals and the fourth with Wright at the helm.

Wright will leave as the program's all-time leader in wins. He compiled a 520-197 overall record and NCAA Tournament victories in 2016 and 2018. For his contributions to the game, he was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021. 

Wright called an "impromptu meeting" with the team Wednesday night to announce his intentions, Norlander reported. Villanova later announced that Fordham coach Kyle Neptune, a longtime assistant under Wright, had been hired to succeed Wright.

MORE: Who is Kyle Neptune?

The Sporting News looks at why Wright is stepping away:

Why is Jay Wright retiring?

Simply put, Wright seems to have had his fill of coaching. 

At a news conference Friday, Wright said there were days last season when he had to find ways to fire himself up just to do his job. 

"I started to feel just like I didn't have the edge that I've always had where the edge always came natural to me, so I started evaluating it," he said, via ESPN

It wasn't a snap decision. Wright said he had pondered stepping away for a few year and finally decided to do so before the Wildcats made it to the Final Four. 

The dominant storyline there was, of course, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski's final run after a legendary career, but Wright opted to keep his own plans quiet. 

"I'm thinking, 'I know exactly what he's thinking about,'" Wright said of Krzyzewski. "But I didn't want to say anything. But there were some weird times like that."

Wright will move into an administrative role at Villanova as a special assistant to university president Rev. Peter M. Donohue. He will be involved in fundraising, advising and education, among other duties.

While some people had pegged Wright for an NBA job, he reportedly is stepping away from basketball entirely. Sources told CBS Sports' Matt Norlander that Wright has "no intention" of taking a job in the Association.

Wright has been at Villanova since the 2001-02 season, after beginning his head coaching career at Hofstra. He led the school to two of its three NCAA Tournament titles, in 2016 and 2018.

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Joe Rivera is in his sixth year with The Sporting News, handling NFL, MLB and some things pro wrestling. He is also a card-carrying BBWAA member and teaches Multimedia Sports Reporting at his alma mater, Rutgers University.