Former BIG EAST rivals to square off in Newark, N.J.
Josh Hart led the team with a triple double in win over the Hawks.
The 2016 NCAA champions were recognized by the State House, State Senate and Governor Wolf
Villanova seniors rang the Opening Bell in New York on April 15
The Wildcats defeat Providence, on January 21, 2017.
Jan. 16, 2017
Jan. 10, 2017
The Wildcats defeat Creighton, on December 31, 2016.
The Wildcats top Notre Dame, on December 10, 2016.
With the Wildcats and North Carolina Tar Heels tied at 74 and 4.7 seconds left in regulation, Villanova executed a buzzer-beater for the ages. Sprung free by a screen from Daniel Ochefu, Ryan Arcidiacono dribbled quickly into the frontcourt before shoveling a feed to a trailer, Kris Jenkins. Jenkins calmly stepped into the 3-pointer and it dropped into the net as the horn sounded giving the Wildcats a 77-74 victory.
The triumph, Villanova's 35th of the season, lifted the Wildcats to the school's second NCAA championship. The night of April 4, 2016 capped a remarkable run that saw Villanova upend a pair of No. 1 NCAA Tournament seeds in North Carolina and Kansas, along with a No. 2 seed Oklahoma and a No. 3 seed. The Wildcats' 95-51 victory over the Sooners in the national semifinal represented the largest margin of victory in an NCAA Final Four contest.
Over the last three seasons, Villanova has won more games than any program in America (97-13). It has earned three consecutive BIG EAST regular season titles for the first time in school history and is 48-6 (.889) in conference action in that span. The Wildcats have been ranked in the Top 25 of the Associated Press poll for 52 consecutive weeks entering 2016-17 and earned the program's first ever No. 1 ranking on Feb. 8, 2016.
Under the direction of Wright, the Wildcats have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 11 of the last 12 seasons.
For the second time in his tenure at Villanova, Wright was named the Naismith National Coach of the Year in 2016. He also shared BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors with Seton Hall's Kevin Willard and is the first person to win that award in three consecutive seasons (2014-16). Over the last 10 years, Wright has been named BIG EAST Coach of the Year on five separate occasions.
Wright was named head coach at Villanova on March 27, 2001. He is 354-157 (.693) in 15 seasons as the Wildcats' leader and owns an overall mark of 476-242 (.663) as a college head coach. In that stretch there have been 20 NCAA Tournament victories that have featured five trips to the NCAA Sweet 16, three visits to the NCAA Elite Eight and a pair of NCAA Final Four appearances (2009 and 2016).
Villanova is 20-12 (.625) in NCAA Tournament play under Wright and that win total matches that of legendary Wildcats head coach Rollie Massimino (20-10), who directed the 1985 Wildcats to an improbable NCAA title. Wright entered the Big East as an assistant coach to Massinino in 1987 and remained part of the Wildcats' staff through 1992.
Every one of Wright's players who has spent four years in the program has earned his degree at Villanova. Six Wildcats brought there by Wright - Randy Foye, Kyle Lowry, Allan Ray, Dante Cunningham, Maalik Wayns and Darrun Hilliard - have played in the National Basketball Association. Two of his players at Hofstra, Speedy Claxton and Norman Richardson, also logged time in the NBA.
Two former assistant coaches who served under Wright are now Division I head coaches: Patrick Chambers (Penn State) and Joe Jones (Boston University). Former aides Brett Gunning (Houston), Ed Pinckney (Denver), Billy Lange (Philadelphia), Jason Fraser (Phoenix) and Curtis Sumpter (Philadelphia) now serve on National Basketball Association coaching staffs. In addition, former Wildcat Baker Dunleavy is the Wildcats' associate head coach. Under Wright, Villanova basketball has grown in other ways. One of Wright's first priorities was to reach out to former Wildcat players to insure that they are an active part of the program. The phrase "Once a Wildcat, Always a Wildcat" is part of the lexicon at Villanova and symbolizes the essential role basketball alumni play in the program. That role is on display throughout the season, most notably at the annual Awards Ceremony which was attended by a record-setting crowd of 2,000 in 2016 at the Pavilion.
In 1994, Wright landed his first head coaching position after spending two years as aide to Massimino at UNLV. Hofstra University hired him to breathe life into a program that was seeking a new direction. Piece by piece, Wright transformed the Pride into a potent force in the America East Conference. This period was capped by a three-year run, which concluded in 2001, that saw Hofstra post a 72-22 (.766) record and make a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances.
Wright earned America East Coach of the Year honors in both 1999-2000 and 2000-01. He was also tabbed Eastern Basketball's Coach of the Year in 1999-2000.
Since becoming a head coach, Wright has also taken time out to work with USA Basketball. During the summer of 2010 he served with Washington's Lorenzo Romar as the co-coach of the USA Select Team, which scrimmaged against the USA National Team in advance of the World Championships.
In August 2005 he served as head coach for the United States' entry in the World University Games which earned a gold medal. Team USA was dominant in amassing an 8-0 record by an average margin of victory of 29.9 points per game. For his efforts Wright was named USA Basketball Co-Developmental Coach of the Year. In the summer of 2007, he served as head coach of the United States' entry in the Pan American Games, leading the squad to a 3-2 record.
Wright's coaching career began in 1984 at the University of Rochester and he followed that with a season at Drexel (1985-86).
A 1983 graduate of Bucknell University with degrees in economics and sociology, Wright was a four-year letterman in basketball. He earned both the Benton A. Kribbs Most Valuable Player and the Macolm E. Musser Leadership Awards as an undergraduate. Following graduation, Wright worked as an administrative assistant with the Philadelphia Stars team that captured the 1984 United States Football League championship.
Since returning to Philadelphia, Wright has joined forces with his fellow Division I head coaches in the fight against cancer. Through the work of the head coaches at Drexel, La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph's, Temple and Villanova, the Philadelphia chapter of Coaches vs. Cancer has become one of the top fundraising groups in the nation.
The product of Churchville, Pa., attended Council Rock High School. He is married to the former Patricia Reilly (Villanova class of 1983). The Wrights have two sons, Taylor (23), Collin (22), and a daughter, Reilly (17).