Jay Wright's sudden decision to retire from coaching Villanova has sent shockwaves throughout the college basketball world. Wright will be succeeded by Kyle Neptune, longtime assistant who just spent a season in charge of his own program at Fordham. It is impossible to replace a coach of Wright's stature, but Nova will try its best.
In the meantime, it's natural to wonder what's next for Wright. If there is anything next. He's a great basketball mind and there are plenty of possible employment opportunities that don't involve the grind of coaching college ball. Here are a few possible options for Wright as he enters his post-Villanova career.
Rumors have been consistent over the last few years that Wright could make a jump to the pro level. Of course, those rumors never had much substance, never originated from the man himself, and ultimately proved worthless. But coaching NBA basketball is a bit easier than college, simply in regards to the fact that Wright wouldn't be responsible for any type of recruiting. And his hometown team, the Philadelphia 76ers, currently employ a coach who is notorious for blowing big playoff leads, a bad reputation to have in such an incendiary city. This isn't particularly likely, since Wright probably would've just stayed at the program he's spent years building if he still had the coaching itch, but if the right opportunity were to come along...
Whenever a famous sports figure retires before it's time to ship him off to the retirement home, broadcasting becomes an option. Wright is only 60 years-old, and hopping onto CBS once a week is a far less grueling profession than coaching. He's obviously a basketball lifer and comes across well enough in media appearances. The networks would certainly love to have him. Basketball minds with the brand recognition Wright brings to the table don't come around often. If Wright wants to stay in the game but doesn't want a daily grind, he'll have plenty of chances to appear on TV; he probably has an open offer for the next decade if he wants to take anybody up on it.
On the other hand, the man is 60 years-old and just spent 21 years turning Villanova into a national powerhouse capable of pumping out NBA-caliber players on an annual basis. We can admit he's earned some R&R. This is the leading option in the clubhouse and will remain so until Wright indicates otherwise.
This is an interesting middle-ground option. Team USA will likely need a new coach sooner rather than later since Gregg Popovich is nearing the end of his own career. Wright was an assistant coach for Pop during the team's most recent Olympics run, so he's familiar with the setup. It would satisfy his need for coaching while giving him plenty of time in between competitions to relax. If Wright didn't want to coach again, the skills that got him to the top of the college basketball world would surely translate to becoming Managing Director, a position currently occupied by Jerry Colangelo. Wright will probably be involved going forward, even if it's in an unofficial capacity.