Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Villanova’s Jay Wright could join select group with second NCAA championship
By ADAM ZAGORIASAN ANTONIO — Villanova’s Jay Wright could join a select group of college coaches if he leads the Wildcats to a second NCAA championship in three years on Monday night against Michigan at the Alamodome.
Only 14 coaches have won at least two NCAA titles, and only six have won more than two.
Wright, 56, would join a group of two-time champions that includes Denny Crum (Louisville), Dean Smith (North Carolina), Billy Donovan (Florida), and Rick Pitino (Kentucky, Louisville).
Michigan’s John Beilein, who lost in the 2013 NCAA championship game to Louisville, is seeking his first title. Wright has 543 career wins, while Beilein is close behind at 541.
If Wright, whose Villanova squad blew out Kansas, 95-79, in the second national semifinal Saturday night, earns his second title, he would have more rings than four active Naismith Hall of Fame coaches: Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), John Calipari (Kentucky), Tom Izzo (Michigan State) and Bill Self (Kansas).
That would virtually guarantee that Wright would be enshrined one day soon.
Here is the list of coaches with two or more NCAA titles:
John Wooden (UCLA) – 10
Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) – 5
Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) – 4
Roy Williams (North Carolina) – 3
Bob Knight (Indiana) – 3
Jim Calhoun (UConn) – 3
Denny Crum (Louisville) – 2
Dean Smith (North Carolina) – 2
Billy Donovan (Florida) – 2
Rick Pitino (Kentucky, Louisville) – 2
Branch McCracken (Indiana) – 2
Henry Iba (Oklahoma State) – 2
Phil Woolpert (San Francisco) – 2
Ed Jucker (Cincinnati) – 2
After reaching the Final Four in 2009, Wright was offered the Kentucky job, but turned it down. He also spoke with the Philadelphia 76ers, but then asked to have his name taken out of consideration, per ESPN.
The last time Villanova won the title in 2016, Wright was immediately linked to several NBA jobs, but then said he loved being at Villanova.
“I can say right now that in my mind I plan to stay at Villanova,” he told ESPN in 2016. “But I also don’t want to be a liar. I want to stay. I know I want to stay, but I just say I hope I can stay because I’ve learned from the past how crazy things can be. I hope I can stay at Villanova because this is where I want to be.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.