Villanova students stunned by Jay Wright's retirement, welcoming Neptune back

"It literally hit us all like a bomb. It was crazy. We're like, 'oh my God,'" said freshman Amanda DeSantis.

Corey Davis Image
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Villanova students stunned by retirement of coach Jay Wright
Villanova University students are reacting to the retirement of basketball coach Jay Wright.

VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Villanova students are still coming to terms with the news that men's basketball coach Jay Wright is retiring after 21 years and two national championships.

"It literally hit us all like a bomb. It was crazy. We're like, 'oh my God,'" said freshman Amanda DeSantis.

"I think we're all upset, but he deserves to retire and have a life with his family," said junior Emma Cahaly.

Coach Wright told his players Thursday night that it's time for a new chapter in his life.

"He's already been inducted into the hall of fame and all this other stuff, so he's very accomplished. I think it's good for him, but it's definitely sad for the community of Villanova and basketball in general," said freshman Timi Olaniyi.

The team was seen leaving the meeting as word began to spread within Nova Nation and fans started wondering about who will replace Wright.

"When I first saw the news, my first thought was, I wish Neptune was still here," said senior David Fink.

That wish will come true; Coach Wright tweeted out a photo of 37-year-old Kyle Neptune by his side and wrote:

"We're excited to turn the reins of this treasure of a program over to Kyle Neptune. Kyle was part of our staff for 10 years, helped us win two national titles and returns after a successful season at Fordham. He understands our culture and will keep it strong."

Neptune spent 10 years under Wright as a video coordinator and an assistant coach.

In his one and only season, Neptune turned around the Fordham basketball program, leading the Rams to their first non-losing season in six years.

Neptune, a New York native, graduated from Lehigh University where he played for the 2004 NCAA tournament team.

"Villanova basketball is always going to be Villanova basketball and if Coach Neptune can make the same great achievements as he did, I think we're all going to be fine," Cahaly said.

Coach Wright plans to stick around the university and will stay involved with fundraising, advising and education.

Wright is expected to speak Friday morning during a press conference.