On Wednesday afternoon, Wildcats men’s basketball head coach Jay Wright announced that he is not a candidate for the Philadelphia 76ers head coach position.
“Out of respect for our Villanova community and our 76ers organization, I feel the need to address speculation about the 76ers head coach position”, Wright said in a statement released on Twitter. “The 76ers have a great leader in Elton Brand, outstanding young talent, and an incredible opportunity for any coach to compete for a championship. As a lifetime 76ers fan, I have confidence they will bring in the right coach to build on what Brett Brown has developed. I am not a candidate for the job. I am very happy and honored to coach at Villanova.”
When Brett Brown was fired on August 24th, following a sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs, speculation quickly turned to Wright as the man to fill the job. Wright has coached Villanova to two National Championships and three Final Four appearances in 19 years on the job, going from a hot mid-major coach to AP Coach of the Decade for the 2010’s.
Wright has been courted for, or at the very least been linked to, many jobs while he has been at Villanova, but only two have caused real speculation for Wright to leave the Main Line.
Following the 2009 Final Four, Wright’s first appearance in the last weekend of college basketball, Kentucky attempted to hire Wright. Kentucky is obviously a blue blood in the college basketball world, and Wright took his time and considered a departure. Obviously, it didn’t happen as he remained at Villanova.
The other job that causes Villanova fans angst when it comes to Wright is the Sixers. Wright has long expressed that he loves the Northeast, the Big 5 and Philadelphia in general. Going to the 76ers would not only allow him to take a step up to the NBA but allow him to stay near the home he loves.
Whenever the 76ers job opens, speculation turns directly to Wright. Philly has reached out to him before, but it has never had a team as good as the one they have now. The Sixers are a legit playoff team that has real championship aspirations.
Wright confirmed on Wednesday that Villanova is the place he wants to be. Any distractions the basketball team has had to deal with in the days since the firing are removed as they now look forward to a season where they are ranked in the top three in the preseason and have a real shot at Wright’s third national championship, and the program’s fourth.