Villanova will play the coaching carousel for the first time since they plucked Jay Wright away from Hofstra at the end of the 2001 season. The Wildcats will hope to land another successful head coach to lead their program after news leaked that Jay Wright was leaving to take the open job at Boston College.
VU Hoops has now confirmed these stories, through the head coach himself.
"I'd like to thank Villanova for everything it has done for me and my family, but now was the right time to move on," Wright wrote in an email. "Boston College is another small Catholic school that is a cultural fit for my 'family' style of coaching."
Wright will now be closer to his son Taylor, who is currently a baseball player for Brown University. While his son's college baseball career wasn't the deciding factor in this decision, it did weigh on the coach's mind when BC administrators reached out to his camp to gauge interest.
The Eagles have been struggling on the hardwood since leaving the old Big East for the ACC, but Wright seems confident that the program can be turned around.
"BC has a great football program that has played in the prestigious Insight.com Bowl, Carquest Bowl, MPC Computers Bowl, and Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, which really will be a draw for the guys we are recruiting in the Fall," Wright added. "With ice hockey championships in '08, '10 and '12, you know that this is an athletic department that does things the right way."
It had long been believed that Wright's next coaching stop would be with a professional team like the Philadelphia 76ers, but he was instead lured to Boston for the chance to take on a historic coaching job.
"This school [Boston College] has such a long history in college basketball," Wright noted. "They've been playing for 110 years without a trip to the Final Four. That's a big selling point for me, we can make history here — that's not something you could say about Kentucky, Indiana, UCLA or the NBA."
Wright will be reunited with Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, Pitt coach Jamie Dixon, Notre Dame's Mike Brey and former Marquette coach Buzz Williams in the ACC coaching ranks.
"We're all going to hit up that Denny's in Greensboro next Spring!" he exclaimed, "coaching in the ACC is going to be a reunion with those guys. We might even invite K!"
Villanova will be moving quickly to replace Wright as head coach. Both Wichita States' Gregg Marshall and Shaka Smart appear on the athletic director's short list of candidates for the job. The 'Cats will also consider recently resigned Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik, who is currently considered the leading candidate, and former USF head coach Stan Heath.
Retired UConn coach Jim Calhoun, who recently suggested he was interested in a return to the sidelines (inspired by SMU's Larry Brown), is expected to throw his hat in the ring as well. Vince Nicastro denied that Villanova would have any interest in the former head-Husky, however.
Wright's departure is another blow to the new Big East's coaching ranks. The losses of Brad Stevens before the 2013-14 season and Buzz Williams shortly afterward are both devastating. Now, the decision by Jay Wright to take the job at Boston College will leave Georgetown's John Thompson III as the longest-tenured coach in the league.
When asked to comment about the latest coaching departure from her league, Big East commissioner Val Ackerman stated: "The Big East is confident that we can continue to attract the best coaching talent going forward. Also, April Fools!"