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Gophers Head Coach Candidate: Jay Wright

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One name linked to the Gophers who brings arguably the most impressive track record and experience is that of Villanova head coach Jay Wright. Wright has been successful at both Hofstra and Villanova, leading struggling programs to both the NIT and NCAA Tournaments. In fact, while at Villanova Wright’s teams have made either the NIT or NCAA tournament all but one year since he became head coach of Villanova in 2001. Wright’s track record speaks for itself, but here are some other things he brings to the table:

Coaching Experience-

  • Hofstra: 1994-2001 (122-85 overall, 76-47 conference record)
  • Villanova: 2001-present (257–154 overall, 108-77 conference record)
  • Career record: 370–212, 184-114 conference record
  • Tied for first place in the Big East (2005-2006)
  • Reached the NIT 4 times (1998-1999, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004)
  • Reached the NCAA Tournament 10 times (1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2012-2013)
  • Reached the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament 2 times (2004-2005, 2007-2008)
  • Reached the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament 1 time (2008-2009)
  • Big East Coach of the Year 2 times (2006, 2009)
  • American East Coach of the Year 2 times (2000, 2001)
  • Naismith College Coach of the Year (2006)

Pros brought to table-

  • Accomplished track record at 2 different schools
  • Wright has good success in the Big East and the NCAA Tournament.
  • Wright has a track record of being able to get top recruits.

Cons-

  • Not from the region.
  • Would have to be motivated to leave Villanova
  • Big East success doesn’t guarantee Big 10 success.

My thoughts-

Wright has a track record that speaks for itself. He has been extremely successful at both of his head coaching stops. He also has a good track record of getting top recruits and coaching players that advance to the NBA. My worry is about his style of coaching translating to the Big 10, although that is a minor worry as a coach with his experience would have no problem adapting to the play of the Big 10. The top challenge would be luring him away from Villanova, where he has been for 12 seasons and seems to be comfortable there. But if the Gophers are able to lure him to Minnesota, he would be a very good pick as their next head coach.

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