Villanova assistant coach Kyle Neptune has been named on The Athletic’s “40 under 40” list of college basketball’s most influential people. Late Monday night, college basketball writer Seth Davis released this list with 40 big names who continue to make a difference in the league and who are also under the age of 40.
Villanova head coach Jay Wright took to Twitter after the list came out to congratulate Neptune.
“Great to see our guy @kyleneptune honored as one of the most influential coaches in college b-ball — Hard work , loyalty and dedication to @NovaMBB!”
Neptune has been with the Wildcats for the last eight years and three years previously. From 2008-2010, Neptune served as the video coordinator, a time frame that overlapped with Villanova’s appearance in the 2009 Final Four. He went on to become an assistant at Niagara, but he returned to Villanova in 2013, this time in an assistant position.
During this time, the Wildcats have won two NCAA titles and five Big East tournaments. Additionally, during Neptune’s second stint with the Wildcats, Villanova played eight seasons and won seven Big East regular season championships. The statistics from the eight years Neptune has been at Villanova have been remarkable.
Despite being just 35, Neptune is now the old man next to Wright, and he is the most experienced assistant on Wright’s bench. Neptune clearly has exceptional coaching abilities and should be in line for a head coaching job somewhere soon.
Neptune has made a huge difference in statistics for the Wildcats, but he has also been a powerful voice against social injustice.
After the death of George Floyd, which led to national protests, Neptune joined the board of a new group called Coaches for Action (CFA). CFA is a social justice group created by 21 assistant coaches from the Big East. The group has advocated for Black Lives Matter patches on uniforms and voting information for student athletes.
CFA has already begun to make a difference in the Big East and other leagues. The Big East announced on Aug. 19 that it was teaming up with CFA to support the Black Lives Matter patches on basketball uniforms for the upcoming season.
The list has continued to circulate on Twitter, with words of praise to other members commemorated on the list. Names include Adam Amin, Dalen Cuff, Katy Young-Staudt and other sportscasters, broadcasters, coaches and journalists.
“Honored & humbled to be included on this list of amazing people by @SethDavisHoops,” Young-Staudt tweeted. “These things never happen overnight. I am lucky to have mentors, allies & advocates who have supported me along the way. Thank you! We are just getting started!”
Many of those mentioned have been working for years to make a name for themselves in the college basketball scene. Young-Staudt is an outspoken supporter of other social justice groups such as Rising Coaches and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative.
The young coaches mentioned on this list showcase the new push for social justice changes and mentors within college basketball. This honor is well deserved for Neptune as he continues to change Villanova and the Big East as a whole.