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April 30, 2019

UCLA reportedly offered to double Jay Wright’s salary and he said no

Villanova's lead man was targeted in UCLA's coaching search, but he decided to stay put

Villanova Jay Wright
Jay Wright Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports

Villanova Wildcats head coach Jay Wright motions to the fans after defeating the Michigan Wolverines 79-62 in the championship game of the 2018 men's Final Four at Alamodome.

Jay Wright’s stock in Philadelphia has risen considerably over the last five years: he’s a two-time national champion, and the new elder statesman in the City 6. Apparently, he likes this newfound status.

The latest sign of Wright’s love for Philly comes from a Los Angeles Times story detailing UCLA’s pursuit of its next men’s basketball head coach, which eventually ended with the Bruins inking former Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin to a six-year deal.

UCLA, a storied program with money in droves, apparently started the search with its sights aimed higher than Cronin, however: it wanted Wright.

Here’s how badly Josh Rebholz, UCLA’s senior associate athletic director, and the UCLA program wanted Wright in blue-and-gold, per the Times:

“We would have loved for Jay Wright to walk out on the floor, but even when we offered to double his salary, he still wasn’t coming. Nothing we can do about that. But I am proud of our effort. We didn’t assume anything, took our shots and I believe will end up with a solid coach who will embrace UCLA and build a program we all can be proud of and root for.”

The school wanted Wright double-his-dang-salary bad. That’s some real yearning.

Wright currently makes $3.87 million per year, according to USA Today’s coach salary database. Doubling that to $7.74 million per year would hypothetically put Wright at No. 2 in the nation, ahead of Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski ($7.05 million) and behind only Kentucky’s John Calipari, who is paid $7.95 million by the school each year.

The move would’ve cemented Wright in the sport’s pantheon of elite coaches at historically elite basketball programs, and made him a staggeringly wealthy man living in a peerlessly gorgeous part of the country.

Wright saying thanks, but no, should say everything and more to Villanova fans.


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