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“What is happening with college basketball? What is happening to the sport I love so much?” - Jay Williams says his mouth dropped to the floor after the news of Jay Wright’s retirement

Coach Wright's decision to retire is taking the college basketball world by storm.
Coach Wright's decision to retire is taking the college basketball world by storm.
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Johnnie Martinez

Villanova Wildcats coach Jay Wright's retirement announcement Wednesday surprised the college basketball world. ESPN's Jay Williams reacted by pondering the impact on college basketball.

Over the past few weeks, Wright and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski have retired.

While Coach K announced his retirement and spent his last season on a retirement tour, Wright's retirement was a surprise.

Williams did an adequate job summarizing the internet's reaction:

"Our producer hands me the phone, and literally my mouth dropped to the floor."

After the shocking announcement, Williams is concerned about the future of college basketball.

"Guy is 60 years old. He has another 10-15 years to up the coaches game, has two national titles, one of three active coaches with two national titles – him, (Kansas') Bill Self and (Iona's) Rick Pitino. There's no way in hell he's retired. I've known Jay Wright since I've been 18 years old. No way.
"And then when I saw it confirmed, it just led me down this path once again. What is happening with college basketball? What is happening to the sport that I love so much?"

Only two active coaches have won multiple national titles: Self and Pitino.

Meanwhile, three other coaches with multiple national championships have retired in the past year.

Wright won two national titles and made four Final Four appearances in 21 seasons at Villanova. Krzyzewski won five national championships and made a record 13 Final Fours in 42 years at Duke and 47 overall. Roy Williams won three national titles at North Carolina and made nine Final Fours in 33 seasons as a head coach (18 at UNC and 15 at Kansas). Williams retired in April 2021.

That could lead to significant change in college basketball, Williams believes.

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According to Jay Williams, Jay Wright's retirement could change college basketball

Jay Wright's retirement means losing one of the last coaching staples of college basketball.
Jay Wright's retirement means losing one of the last coaching staples of college basketball.

With the increase in NBA prospects skipping college basketball and playing internationally or in the G League, coaches have become college basketball's stars.

Even players who do not forgo college are not staying long, which led ESPN's Jay Williams to react to the importance of college basketball coaches:

"We have guys that are in and out that you have no idea who they are, right, because it's a revolving door so quick ... but the one last staple that we have in college basketball are the coaches."

The retirement of Villanova's Jay Wright and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski means some of the game's most prominent coaches are gone.

In the span of 13 months, Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski and Jay Wright have all retired.A total changing-of-the-guard moment in the sport of college basketball.

With college basketball losing many famous coaches and many players leaving the moment they become famous, the sport will lack star power.

Either more coaches will need to become superstars or the sport will have to rely on the brand recognition of the colleges to stay popular. That fits Jay Williams' concern.


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Q. Will college basketball lose popularity after the coaching retirements?

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No

290 votes so far

Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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