PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It was a year ‘Nova Nation will never forget. An incredible season that included a Big East Conference title and making a March Madness Final Four run has ended with the retirement of head coach Jay Wright.
The unexpected retirement left fans and most of the sports world speechless on Wednesday night – and by Friday, Wright was holding his retirement press conference.
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Wright says he didn’t feel like he was at his best during the past NCAA basketball season, despite leading his team to a Big East title and to the Final Four.
CBS3’s Pat Gallen was with Villanova from Pittsburgh, to San Antonio, and finally to New Orleans. He jokes that he spent more time talking to Jay last month than his own wife.
The two sat down Friday morning for one last chat.
Pat: Congrats, how long did it take to make the decision? Were tears shed?
Wright: There was a point during the middle of the season, this was the time to do it. Difficult knowing and not being able to share with everyone, that was stressful.
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Pat: You’ve done this for two decades. Are you nervous, anxious, or excited about what the next step in life is?
Wright: I’m still so dialed to get us this completed here, recruits, staff, things are going well. I want to execute that. I’m looking forward to sitting down and thinking about [it] but right now I’m dialed into us completing this process. “
Pat: You talk about not having that edge for the last year or so, how do you feel mentally and physically?
Wright: I’m great, I feel healthy, but it was the first time in my career I felt I wasn’t the driving force energy-wise. I always felt like I would drive the staff, the team. This year, it was Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels, they were the driving force. I was along for the ride. The assistant coaches, George Halcovage, Dwayne and Mike, they were the driving force and I was along for the ride and I felt like that’s not the way we do things here, it’s gotta change.
Pat: I’m sure I’ve asked you this 100 times over the years, but what do you want your legacy to be?
Wright: Honestly Pat, you guys think I’m crazy, I say this all the time. I really don’t care what people say about me, the legacy. I do care about the relationships I can maintain with the players and the people I work with here at Villanova. I wanna keep that strong because that’s what I really value.
Wright tells CBS3 that he is going to miss the packed, sold-out games at Villanova and their intensity.
“That is a rush and when you win that’s intoxicating,” Wright said. “I’m not gonna get that feeling anymore.”
Villanova has named Kyle Neptune as Wright’s successor and he says there is no one better fit for the job.
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WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW.