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.
According to Jay Williams, Jay Wright's retirement could change 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.
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.
Q. Will college basketball lose popularity after the coaching retirements?
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