Hall of Fame coach Jay Wright is retiring after 21 seasons as men's basketball coach at Villanova, a shocking move that comes just weeks after he led the Wildcats to the Final Four.

Villanova said Wednesday that Wright will take a new role as special assistant to the university's president. Fordham's Kyle Neptune, who spent 10 years under Wright as a video coordinator and an assistant coach, will take over as Villanova coach.

A news conference featuring Wright, Neptune and athletic director Mark Jackson is scheduled for Friday morning.

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"Over the past 21 seasons, I have had the opportunity to live out a professional dream as the head coach at Villanova," Wright said in a statement. "Patty and I have been blessed to work with incredible, gifted young men who allowed us to coach them and brought us unmatched joy. We cannot overstate our gratitude to the players, coaches, and administrators who have been with us on this path. It has been an honor and a privilege to work at Villanova, especially under Father Peter and Mark Jackson.

"Now, though, it's time for us to enter a new era of Villanova basketball. After 35 years in coaching, I am proud and excited to hand over the reins to Villanova's next coach. I am excited to remain a part of Villanova and look forward to working with Father Peter, Mark and the rest of the leadership team. Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat."

Wright, 60, had been the Wildcats' coach since 2001. He won two national championships, in 2016 and 2018, and made four Final Four appearances. He was named Naismith Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2016 and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021.

Neptune, 37, had been the head coach at Fordham for one season. He led the Rams to a 16-16 campaign, a 14-win improvement on their 2020-21 season.

 

Wright went 520-197 during his 21 seasons with the Wildcats, winning at least 30 games on six occasions, the sixth-most 30-win seasons in men's Division I history. He won eight Big East regular-season titles and five Big East conference tournament championships.

Before taking over at Villanova, Wright was the head coach at Hofstra for seven seasons, winning two America East championships and making two NCAA tournament appearances.

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ESPN's Pete Thamel and Adrian Wojnarowski contributed to this report.

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