Man of Substance: Why We Love Villanova Coach Jay Wright

Nova's men’s basketball coach is more than just a pretty face. He knows it, and so should you. We've got the expanded web story on this powerhouse right here.

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Coach Jay Wright (Photo by Jared Castaldi)Back in 1994, when Jay Wright took over as head coach at Hofstra University, the Flying Dutchmen—as they were then known—were downright rotten. “We were ranked something like 310th out of 320 teams,” Wright recalls.

Then-assistant coach Tom Pecora sums it up better: “The running joke was that, during the first year, all of Jay’s halftime adjustments involved his tie, hair and handkerchief. There was nothing we could do with that team.”

That first season, Hofstra traveled to Notre Dame. “Before the game, Jay tells the team, ‘The officials are going to put it to us, but we can’t lose our composure,’” says Pecora.

Hofstra responded to the challenge by playing its best first half of the year. The Dutchmen stayed close, but fell behind at the half when the Irish went on a late run. Just as Wright predicted, the referees were creative in their interpretation of the rules. As the teams left the court, Pecora looked for Wright but couldn’t find him. He finally saw him—yelling at the refs. Villanova University’s future men’s basketball coach was doing exactly what he had told his players not to do.

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