Jay Wright of Villanova University is still one of the best head coaches in college basketball, despite not winning any National Championships. Wright has a total win-loss record of 408–234, and has led the Wildcats to eight NCAA Tournament appearances. The Pennsylvania native has also made it to the Final Four once, the Elite 8 twice, and the Sweet 16 four times.
Elite high school prospects often commit to the likes of Kansas, Kentucky, or Duke to name a few, so Villanova under the helm of Jay Wright has rarely gotten commitments from top-tier high school talent. Although Wright has not necessarily recruited the best of the best to play for his team, he brings the best out of his players and consistently puts a good team together. In ten out of his twelve years coaching Villanova, the team has finished with records above .500.
Wright also led a successful career as head coach of Hofstra University, holding a 122-85 record and appearing in March Madness twice and the National Invitational Tournament once. To put that in perspective, Hofstra only made it to the NCAA Tournament twice in the school’s history before Wright took the Pride there.
Last season, Villanova was left out of the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll in the preseason, yet the Wildcats finished the college basketball regular season ranked No. 3 in the country just behind Florida, a team that made it all the way to the Final Four and Wichita State, a team that finished the regular season undefeated.
Villanova’s head coach is one of the top coaches, but elite, on the same level as coaches such as Billy Donovan, John Calipari and Mike Krzyzewski? No, he is not there yet. He needs to do one thing to get up to that pedestal, and that’s to win a National Championship.