Is Villanova a Philly school?
Just kidding. This story is about Jay Wright, who reportedly turned down a huge money offer to coach the UCLA Bruins.
That’s via Ben Bolch at the Los Angeles Times, who wrote an article titled “The back story on UCLA’s long, strange search for a basketball coach.” In the piece, he shares the content of a text message sent from UCLA senior associate athletic director Josh Rebholz to major donors after the program failed to land John Calipari from Kentucky.
Here’s the first of two relevant Jay Wright passages:
Rebholz told the donors in the message viewed by The Times that the search committee started with a list of more than 60 candidates that included some of the biggest names in coaching: Calipari, Stevens, Tom Izzo, Jay Wright, Billy Donovan, Mark Few and Tony Bennett.
And the second after the jump:
“We would have loved for Jay Wright to walk out on the floor, but even when we offered to double his salary, he still wasn’t coming. Nothing we can do about that. But I am proud of our effort. We didn’t assume anything, took our shots and I believe will end up with a solid coach who will embrace UCLA and build a program we all can be proud of and root for.”
Wright earns $3.8 million, which is similar to what I make writing for Crossing Broad. So if you doubled his salary, that’s $7.6 million to leave the Main Line for Los Angeles, which I think would sound pretty damn good for a lot of people.
But the bottom line is that Nova is a better program than UCLA in 2019. Wright has two national championships this decade while UCLA hasn’t made a Final Four since 2008. They ended up with Mick Cronin, who did a really nice job at Cincinnati but couldn’t get the Bearcats into the Sweet 16 in their last seven tournament appearances.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, John Wooden ain’t walking through that door. And donors must not be happy if they’re showing text messages to LA Times reporters.