Following Villanova’s sensational victory over North Carolina in the national championship game, it was inevitable that coach Jay Wright’s name would be mentioned for other jobs. After all, it’s popped up before in reference to both NBA openings and the highest end college basketball positions.
Just like clockwork, despite the little sense it would make on paper, on Thursday his name popped up in connection with the Phoenix Suns opening.
In response to those rumors, Wright did an interview with ESPN and stated that he “plans to stay at Villanova” while also leaving the door just slightly open if something spectacular was to come up.
“I can say right now that in my mind I plan to stay at Villanova,” Wright told ESPN. “But I also don’t want to be a liar. I want to stay. I know I want to stay, but I just say I hope I can stay because I’ve learned from the past how crazy things can be. I hope I can stay at Villanova because this is where I want to be.”
Typically, it’s worth noting that this could be a power play to get a bit more money from Villanova. However, it’s also noted within the interview that this is not one of those cases. Simply put, Wright is happy where he is, and for the moment he doesn’t want to leave. That’s not to say he won’t leave in the future, or if a spectacular opportunity comes up he won’t take it. You can’t blame him for leaving the door open for future opportunities.
But you also can’t blame him for being ecstatic with where he is. Villanova has a shot to return a top-five preseason team next season if Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins return to school after declaring for the draft without an agent. He’s coming off of a national title and three straight Big East titles.
He’s also at home in Philadelphia. It’s where he grew up. His wife is a former Villanova cheerleader. The city also seems to suit him well, as it’s noted within the ESPN interview that Wright is allowed “to exist in relative anonymity, able to attend Phillies games or sit on his New Jersey beach with little more than a ‘Hey, Coach.'”
Plenty of coaches over the years have left great gigs for supposedly greener pastures and ended up unhappy. It seems like Wright realizes this as well as anyone else, and is determined not to let it happen to him unless the perfect opportunity arises.