July 31, 2009

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(Editor's note: From the summer 2009 edition of Bucknell Magazine.)

By David Driver

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Jay Wright '83, head men's basketball coach at Villanova, answers a few questions about basketball and Bucknell.

Q: How has the appearance in the Final Four changed your life?

A: You can see a little more respect from people in the basketball world, from the fans and others. There have been a few more requests to speak, but so far, my life hasn't changed that much. It was neat that Charlie Woollum, my former coach at Bucknell, was able to attend the Final Four.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job, including the head post at Hofstra and eight seasons with the Wildcats?

A: Really, just to see these young men grow in four years as players, as students and young men. Every player that has played for us at Villanova and Hofstra graduated on time. I get to keep in touch with the players, five to 10 years after they played. That is the most rewarding part of the job.

Q: What are your best memories of Bucknell, and how did that time shape you as a person and coach?

A: There were so many intelligent, well-rounded people from around the world there. I learned as much from the students as the professors. I came from the Philadelphia area, and all of a sudden I met people from all over the world. I thought I was a pretty good athlete and pretty good student, but I met guys who were better athletes and much better students. It opened my eyes to the world. It opened me up to opportunities that I could never think of.

Q: Do you keep in touch with Bucknell alumni?

A: We have one game each year at the Wachovia Center [in Philadelphia], and about 150 Bucknell alumni come out for the game.We get a skybox for them. After the game we go to the home of Jim Costello '83 in Downingtown. It is my favorite game of the year, even if we lose.

Q: When and how did you first meet former Wildcats head coach Rollie Massimino, whom you later worked for as a Villanova assistant?

A: I met him while working at his basketball camp. I was a coach at the University of Rochester and was two or three years out of Bucknell. He came over during a camp drill and said, "You are doing a great job." It was a thrill for me.

Contact: Division of Communications