Madison Square Garden, NY — When people mention the elite coaches in the game of college basketball Jay Wright often gets overlooked, but his track record makes his mama proud. Wright runs the only “original” Big East program that is still a threat in the NCAA Tournament. Villanova is now the lone juggernaut in a conference that used to rule college basketball.
Villanova advanced past the Marquette Golden Eagles in a 94-70 blowout win at Madison Square Garden. With the win, Villanova is headed back to the Big East Tournament semifinals for the fourth-straight season with a mission of capturing its third conference tournament championship in four years. Thursday night’s sellout of 19,812 is the first Quarterfinal sellout since the 2013-14 realignment.
Solid hoops programs have stability at the top and Wright has been a seasoned, fiery leader and consistent force for Villanova as hes won 414 games with the Wildcats. Thursday’s win put Wright in lofty standings as he passed Al Severance ,who racked up 413 victories, for winningest coach in school history.
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Jay Wright becomes winningest coach in Villanova history. https://t.co/KmqPLy3Pzd
Severance compiled a 413-201 record in 25 seasons at Villanova from 1936-61. Wright has led Villanova to unprecedented success and accomplished his record of 414-165 in just 17 seasons.
Since Wright took the Villanova job in 2001 he has led the Wildcats to the 2009 Final Four and 2016 national championship.
He’s alone atop the record books and has taken a school that was the little engine that could in 1985 when they upset mighty Georgetown to win the programs first NCAA title under Rollie Massimino, and turned it into the Big Easts premier program. One of the Top 10 basketball factories in the country.
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Another milestone for Jay Wright
The scandal thats ensnared college hoops this season has hurt the sport’s credibility, but Wright’s one of the coaches who has committed himself to running a clean program and developing the total player, not just utilizing one-and-done youngsters for their basketball prowess and fleeting tournament success. He’s old school in every way. A Pennsylvania kid who is also a product of the influential 1980s Big East squads. The conference has changed but his coaching principles remain the same.
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Jay Wright on the @BIGEAST.
All Wright usually needs is one star and a few grind-hard soldiers. Having Big East Player of the Year Jalen Brunson doesn’t hurt. That’s more than enough for Wright to find a way to get it done and his university represents the best of what this new Big East has to offer, while reminding us of the old days, when the conference took a backseat to no one as far as visibility and national talent was concerned.
“I’m mostly proud to be the coach of Villanova, honestly,” Wright said. “The wins and everything don’t matter. I know I’ll look back on it later.”
The Wildcats (28-4) were never really threatened and pulled away in the game by hitting 11 of 17 second half treys. They were led by Mikal Bridges who hit four treys and scored 25 points and Brunson, the pride of New Brunswick, NJ, scored 21. Brunson is proving to be every bit of the player his father Rick (who starred at Temple and then went on to play nine seasons in the NBA) was.
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Villanova remains the No. 2 team in the AP Top 25 and the favorite to defeat No. 1 seed Xavier in the finals on Saturday unless a major upset is pulled off in the semifinals today.
Wright continues to cultivate the Nova program, elevate the prestige of the university with his basketball excellence and move to the forefront of elite coaches as some of the games icons move into the twilight of their careers.