William B. Finneran Endowed Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jay Wright will be retiring from his position to begin a new chapter in his career at the University as Special Assistant to the President. Kyle Neptune, who served on the Villanova coaching staff before accepting the head coaching position at Fordham University in 2021, is the new head men’s basketball coach at Villanova.
Wright assumed the reins of the Wildcats’ program in 2001 and posted a record of 520-197 in 21 seasons at the helm (.725), including NCAA national championships in 2016 and 2018 and NCAA Final Four appearances in 2009 and 2022. He is a six-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 11, 2021.
“Over the past 21 seasons, I have had the opportunity to live out a professional dream as the head coach at Villanova,” stated Wright. “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 a member of our basketball family, Kyle Neptune. 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.”
In his new position, Wright will be involved in fundraising, advising, education and more.
Villanova President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, and Villanova Vice President and Director of Athletics Mark Jackson: “We would like to start by expressing our immense gratitude to Jay Wright for his incredible leadership of Villanova Men’s Basketball for the past 21 years. He has led our storied program with class, humility and grace, leaving an indelible impact on this community.”
“Jay’s legacy at Villanova extends well beyond the numerous awards, accolades and championships. He will be forever known to our community as Villanova’s winningest coach, who did things the “Wright” way, guiding, developing, and empowering the student-athletes who played for him to not only be better on the basketball court but in their personal lives. Jay taught us all the true meaning of “ATTITUDE,” so, on behalf of everyone associated with Villanova Basketball, we would like to express our overwhelming “GRATITUDE” for everything he has done for Villanova.”
“When looking for a successor, we wanted a candidate who could navigate the changing landscape of collegiate athletics and keep Villanova in a position of strength—now and in the future,” said Jackson. “After meeting with several exceptional candidates, we found all those attributes and more in Kyle Neptune. Kyle quickly stood out for his basketball knowledge, recruiting savvy and natural ability to connect with student-athletes and coaches.”
Neptune, a 2007 graduate of Lehigh University, was a member of the Vilanova Basketball staff from 2008-10 and then returned as an assistant coach in 2013. During his time as an assistant coach with the Wildcats, the program captured BIG EAST regular-season titles in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020 and BIG EAST Tournament titles in 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
A news conference featuring Wright, Neptune and Vice President and Director of Athletics Mark Jackson will be held Friday at 10 a.m. at Finneran Pavilion.