Villanova assistant men’s basketball coach Kyle Neptune was officially named the head coach of Fordham University in Bronx, New York on Tuesday afternoon. The move had been speculated, but Fordham made it official that Neptune would be running their program.
"Kyle is a dedicated, intelligent, creative basketball coach. Our players have benefited greatly over the years from his teaching, passion, and commitment. He has recruited outstanding talent to our program and is respected as one of the best recruiters in the country. I will miss his expertise in game situations, his leadership and, most of all, his friendship and loyalty. Fordham is getting a humble and talented coach and mentor. I know Kyle is excited to join the Fordham community and return to his home in New York City. Our Villanova community wishes him great success!” head coach Jay Wright said in a statement.
Neptune first started with the Wildcats and Wright in 2008, when he was the video coordinator. Neptune held that position until 2010, helping to oversee the 2009 Final Four run, Wright’s first as a head coach.
Neptune left after the 2009-2010 season to become an assistant coach at Niagara but returned in 2013 as an assistant coach of the ‘Cats.
Neptune has been an assistant coach since that 2013-2014 season. He oversaw tremendous success, including two national championships, four Big East tournament championships, and seven Big East regular-season championships.
He also helped recruit and develop the eight NBA players Villanova has produced since the 2016 draft, with sophomore Jeremiah Robinson-Earl likely to become the ninth this year.
Neptune is 36 years old and will be one of the younger Division I coaches next season. He is a Brooklyn, New York native, so he will be returning very close to home for his first head coaching job.
Wright’s coaching tree at the collegiate level has expanded quite a bit in the past few years. Former assistant Joe Jones is the head coach at Boston University, Billy Lange is at St. Joe’s, Baker Dunleavy is at Quinnipiac, and Ashley Howard is at La Salle. Neptune’s hire expands Wright’s coaching tree to five. Former Wright assistant Pat Chambers was the head coach at Penn State but was fired before this season after an investigation into his past conduct with players.
This move means the Wildcats now have an opening on their coaching bench. The other two assistant coaches, George Halcovage and Mike Nardi, were both promoted from director of basketball operations. The current director of basketball operations is Dwyane Anderson, who played under Wright as a member of the 2009 Final Four team. Anderson has assistant coach experience under Chambers at Penn State, but took a step down to become the director of basketball operations at Villanova in 2018. Due to his previous experience and Wright’s history of promoting from within, Anderson is the likely candidate to replace Neptune.
From there, Wright will need a new director of basketball operations. Wright could go outside the program to find a new one, or again promote from within. If that were to happen, current video coordinator Matt Fraschilla is a possibility, as both Halcovage and Nardi were promoted from video coordinator to director of basketball operations before becoming assistant coaches.
Villanova’s success the past eight seasons, combined with the culture Wright’s program is well known for having, have made Villanova assistants particularly attractive for programs looking to rebuild their own culture and program. For Villanova, in order to withstand the losses and continue winning, the culture will be more important than ever.