Jay Wright of Villanova Named 2018 John R. Wooden Award Legends of Coaching Recipient

Jay Wright of Villanova Named 2018 John R. Wooden Award Legends of Coaching Recipient

LOS ANGELES, CA (October 10, 2017) – Jay Wright, Villanova University Men’s Basketball Coach, will receive the John R. Wooden Award’s “Legends of Coaching” honor in 2018. Coach Wooden’s daughter Nan Wooden was proud to announce his selection at the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s annual Wooden Award Tip-Off Luncheon. The luncheon features the head coaches from the Division I men’s basketball programs in Southern California. The “Legends of Coaching” honor recognizes coaches who exemplify Coach Wooden’s high standard of coaching success and personal integrity.

The “Legends of Coaching” award was adopted by the Wooden Award Steering Committee in 1999. The honorees are selected based on character, success on the court, graduation rate of student-athletes in their basketball program, coaching philosophy, and identification with the goals of the John R. Wooden Award. Coach Wright will be recognized during the Wooden Award Weekend April 5-7, 2018, as a part of the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s celebration of the greatest players and coaches in college basketball. He will be awarded the honor during the 4th Annual ESPN College Basketball Awards on April 6, 2018.

Coach Wright has 23 years of head coaching experience, including 16 years as the head coach of the Villanova University men’s basketball team. On February 11, 2017, he recorded his 500th career victory when the Wildcats defeated Xavier.  He is a five-time winner of the Big East Conference Coach of the Year honor. Wright has led Villanova to the NCAA Tournament in 12 of the last 13 seasons. Over the past four seasons, Wright has led Villanova to four consecutive Big East regular season championships, a pair of Big East Tournament titles, the 2016 NCAA Championship, 70 consecutive weeks ranked in the AP Top 25, and the most wins of any program in the country.  

In 2016-17, Villanova had 11 players named to the Big East All-Academic Team and received the Team Academic Excellence award. Every player that spent four seasons with the Villanova men’s basketball program during Wright’s tenure has received a diploma. Three players have earned consensus first-team All-American honors in Wright’s tenure at Villanova and four players have been named to the Wooden Award All American Team, most recently with Josh Hart in 2017.

John R. Wooden Award

Legends of Coaching Honorees


2018       Jay Wright, Villanova

2017       Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame

2016       Tubby Smith, Texas Tech

2015       Steve Fisher, San Diego State

2014       Tara VanDerveer, Stanford

2013       Bill Self, Kansas

2012       Geno Auriemma, Connecticut

2011       Tom Izzo, Michigan State

2010       Billy Donovan, Florida

2009       Rick Barnes, Texas

2008       Pat Summitt, Tennessee

2007       Gene Keady, Purdue

2006       Jim Boeheim, Syracuse

2005       Jim Calhoun, Connecticut

2004       Mike Montgomery, Stanford

2003       Roy Williams, Kansas

2002       Denny Crum, Louisville

2001       Lute Olson, Arizona

2000       Mike Krzyzewski, Duke

1999       Dean Smith, North Carolina


About the John R. Wooden Award

Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best basketball player at an NCAA Division I university who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress towards graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), and last year’s recipients, Kelsey Plum of Washington and Frank Mason III of Kansas.

Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed nearly one million dollars to the universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the Wooden Award All-American recipients and has sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with the Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament brings together Special Olympics athletes and Wooden Award All-Americans and coaches in attendance. It is hosted at the Los Angeles Athletic Club during the John R. Wooden Award Weekend.

The Legends of Coaching Award will be presented during the 4th Annual ESPN College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s, which will take place on Friday, April 6, 2018. For up-to-date information on the Wooden Award, please go to www.woodenaward.com and follow the Wooden Award on Facebook at www.facebook.com/woodenaward and @WoodenAward on Twitter and Instagram.

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