I first heard it about a month ago, from a friend: Hey, a guy I work with who went to Nova says Jay Wright’s wife kicked him out of their house because he knocked up a student. He may step down. SEX SCANDAL. LOL!!!
I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it.
Since then, I’ve heard it from several friends, readers, Twitter followers and even some more connected folks, all of whom claim to have a source inside the Villanova Athletic Department or are friends with someone whose brother went to Villanova and goes to all the games and loves Jay Wright but even he said it’s true.
It sort of reached a tipping point yesterday, when blog posts like this one (which comes with a silly disclaimer that it's a rumor) and this one (which is from Barstool, a site with hundreds of thousands of readers) ran with the story. And, on cue, I got a few emails from people claiming to have a source that said Wright was stepping down today.
Because the rumors aren’t true.
Jay Wright didn't knock up a freshman soccer player.
Several people close to the program have told me that the rumors are absolutely false. Dick “Hoops” Weiss, a Hall of Fame basketball writer with the NY Daily News who spent over 20 years at the Philadelphia Daily News, who I’d estimate has been a guest on Wright’s radio show dozens of times, denied the rumor on his Twitter last night. And, also on Twitter, the sports editor of the Philadelphia Daily News informed me and Brian Ewart of VUHoops.com, where the rumor has also been shot down, that the paper did their due diligence and believes it to be “completely untrue.” There’s also the inconvenient fact that there is no press conference scheduled and that Wright, nor anyone of importance at Villanova, has indicated that he won’t be the coach today, tomorrow, and for the next five years… or until the next time he loses to La Salle (really, Jay, come on).
there is no truth– repeat — no truth to the rumors about villanova basketball.
— Dick Weiss (@NYDNDickWeiss) December 5, 2012
Villanova declined comment on the matter. But, it’s worth noting that Wright’s wife, Patty, has been at most games this season (including ones as part of the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden, in New York), seated behind the bench, cheering for her husband’s team, as has been the case for nearly every game since Wright started at Villanova, in 2001.
On VU Hoops, SB Nation's Villanova site, Ewart writes that a search of local court records turned up no divorce cases involving Wright. Also, this:
In discussions with Wright family friends, associates and colleagues, all denied that any part of the stories circulating on the Internet over the past few days was true. Wright and his wife, Patty, are aware of the rumor's existence, but don't feel that acknowledging them publicly would give credence to them and encourage their spread.
I’m sorry, Virginia– there is no Jay Wright sex scandal. He just happens to be ridiculously good-looking, and we shouldn’t fault him for that. Some people, though, will continue to believe whatever they want.
As a Villanova grad who started at Nova the same year Jay Wright arrived, I can’t pretend that Wright wasn’t at or near the top of my man crush list from the time I was 18 until about… um, when Villanova missed the tournament this year. That said, it’s clear to many who watch the team on a daily basis each year that Wright is a better recruiter, motivator and game planner than he is in-game coach. Though I hesitate to make this analogy right now, he reminds me a lot of Andy Reid in that regard– players love him, and he can pull a wacky and successful gameplan out of his ass when needed, but his in-game management skills leave much to be desired. And inbounds plays. Wright couldn’t draw up a successful inbounds play for a 5-on-0 practice session.
Anyway, faults aside, Wright has done job a fantastic job in just over a decade at Villanova. Without looking it up (because I don’t have to and because I charted the team’s 2005-2006 wins on Post-It notes inside my cubicle when I worked for the Inquirer, much to the chagrin of my boss), Wright has led Villanova to two Sweet 16 finishes, an Elite Eight, and a Final Four. Not bad for a small Catholic school with a home arena that looks like a cheap tent. So it comes as some surprise that a polling of anonymous coaches found Wright to be the fifth most overrated in the country: [CBS Sports]
1) Roy Williams (North Carolina): 23 percent
2) Rick Barnes (Texas): 17 percent
3) Scott Drew (Baylor): 11 percent
4) Steve Lavin (St. John's): 9 percent
5) Jay Wright (Villanova): 6 percent
6) Ben Howland (UCLA): 6 percent
7) Jim Boeheim (Syracuse): 4 percent
8) Tommy Amaker (Harvard): 4 percent
What’s worse, this:
One anonymous coach:
On Jay Wright: "I'll tell you this about Villanova and Jay Wright. In all our prep over the years, he's the only coach we never prepared a scouting report for."
That’s somewhat understandable because Villanova basically runs the same motion offense on every play, with a sprinkling of three-four set plays per game. But no scouting at all? Again, ow.
Of course, this list can also double as some of the most successful coaches in the country. I’m sure Roy Williams doesn’t mind topping the list as he shines his trophies. And Ben Howland probably hasn’t even noticed as he stares at dem asses on the UCLA campus.
As for Jay? Well, he's still the best-looking coach.
I’m sure the comments from you St. Joes and Temple folks are going to be extremely reasonable here.
H/T to the fine folks at PhilaHoops.com, who do a great job
We're talking a lot about the 2007 Phillies of late.
"That would have been nice five years ago."
Sure, it would have been nice. But, in 2007, the 88-win Mets still would have missed the playoffs under MLB's new playoff format. The 89-win Padres would have been the extra Wild Card team, the third playoff team from the NL West.
Poor Mets, not even a grandfather clause could get that squad them into the postseason.
It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but it’s funny to think that the Phillies’ four-game sweep of the Mets in August of 2007 was essentially the start of this current run of success, which was brought on by a dominant offense. As an example, check out the scores from a six-game win streak which included that sweep of the Mets:
That’s 50 runs in six games. 50.
To put that in perspective, it took the Phillies 12 games to score 50 runs at the conclusion of last season, including the NLDS against the Cardinals.
Anyway, Wright remembers 2007 quite well. And so do we.
Lost in the craziness of the Phillies clinching the NL East and the Eagles dropping a deuce in Atlanta is the story about Pittsburgh and Syracuse making a money grab with the ACC (because when I think Atlantic Coast, I think Syracuse, New York).
The fallout is going to be enormous. As a Villanova alum, I’ve long been worried about the possibility of 1-A football schools leaving for greener pastures. Syracuse and Pitt (two of the top five basketball programs in the Big East) will join former Big East members, Boston College, Miami, and Virginia Tech, in the ACC. That leaves Villanova in a dying conference. One that they’re trying to get out of, according to the Orlando Sun Sentinel: [via The Nova Blog]
ACC Commissioner John Swofford said during a teleconference Sunday the league received more than 10 applications from schools hoping to join the league. Orlando Sentinel sources confirmed multiple Big East members applied to join the league, including Villanova.
Ironically, Villanova’s foot-dragging in their flirtations with Big East football may now make it easier for them to leave the conference… or what’s left of it.
But there’s a problem: Where do they go?
Without a 1-A football team, it’s unlikely the ACC would have a use for a small catholic school that relied heavily on the power of its conference to recruit teenagers to play their home games in a 6,500-seat arena.
The concept of a “Catholic League", with schools like Villanova, Georgetown, St. Johns, Seton Hall, Xavier, and Marquette, has long been discussed, but it would likely find itself on the level of the Atlantic 10 conference, not the Big East. That means Villanova’s recent success (and top ten rankings) would go away almost instantly.
Other options would likely be variations of the "Catholic League," in which schools with solid basketball programs and virtually non-existent or less-than-high-profile football programs banded together to form their own, soon-to-be-overlooked conference.
– stomps foot –
Warning: I'm shooting boastful Temple and St. Joes commenters on sight.
The announcement comes as part of a larger PR push for Villanova- the school also unveiled its new basketball website today. It's got a lot of flash and rap music, which basketball players like.
Reals: If, last week, you would have asked me for three people that I'd like to see join Twitter, I would have said, without hesitation, a Russian goalie, a Boss, and Jeff Carter… but Jay Wright would have been a close fourth.
He could go one of two ways with his account: The Pat Summit I'm going to use this as a promotional tool to help strengthen women's lib route or the Pat Chambers I'm going to use this to actually give you some insight into what I do and continue being a kick-ass coach route. Either way, he really needs to end every Tweet with the \\// sign. I know how much you all love that.
His first Tweet was, of course, positive:
I'm telling you, this man could sell viscous liquid to Aunt Jemima.
Perhaps now is the time to rant – in 140 characters or less – about last year's debacle to Wright… Nah, I'll wait. Welcome to the interwebs, Coach.
Invariably, this post will bring out two types of people: Villanova apologists or the unwashed masses* people who hate everything the school does.
*That was a joke! Not real. I don't think I can be more clear about that. I'm getting off stage. \\//