For what felt like decades, fans had desperately wanted Jay Wright to leave his post at Villanova and take the head coaching job with the Sixers.
Well, apparently it almost happened.
On a recent appearance on the Poz 5 Pod, Wright admitted that he nearly took the job when Ed Stefanski was the Sixers’ general manager.
Jay Wright admits he was seriously considering taking the Sixers’ head coaching job when Ed Stefanski was in the front office. pic.twitter.com/sGzqqD62PU— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) November 29, 2023
Narrowing down the timeframe of when this could’ve happened, it sure seems like Wright could’ve saved us all from watching the disastrous Eddie Jordan season.
Wright says he met with Stefanski (over hoagies, which is definitely very Delco) to discuss the Sixers’ job. Wright mentioned he was in his late 40s or early 50s at the time. In 2009, the year Jordan was hired, Wright would’ve been 48. After Jordan led the Sixers to an abysmal 27-55 season, Rod Thorn took over as the head of basketball operations and Doug Collins was hired as coach.
That would’ve been an interesting team for Wright to take over. You had Andre Iguodala just entering his prime at 26. You also had young, intriguing players like Jrue Holiday (19), Thaddeus Young (21) and Lou Williams (23). It would’ve changed the entire course of the franchise.
If you’re a Villanova fan, you have to be super grateful Stefanski was unsuccessful in his attempt to woo Wright. Think of all the great players that came to the Main Line after 2009 and all the success Wright enjoyed. His decision to stay with the Wildcats led to two national championships, four Final Fours and legendary status. In all likelihood, taking over that Sixers team wouldn’t have led to a title and Wright eventually would’ve been fired, as he states.
Instead, he’s royalty at Villanova.
Prior to tonight's St. Joe's-Villanova game, Jay Wright will be honored with "Wright Way," a thoroughfare separating Davis Center from Finneran Pavilion.— Aaron Bracy (@Aaron_Bracy) November 29, 2023
Wright had 520 victories over 21 seasons, including 2 NCAA titles and 4 Final Four appearances.#NovaMBB
It would’ve been more intriguing to see what Wright could’ve done if he’d taken over the Sixers during some point of the Joel Embiid era. With respect to Brett Brown, Wright instilling his culture (yes, one of the most overused words in sports) could’ve made a huge difference during Sam Hinkie’s Process. Elton Brand and the Sixers showed interest when Brown was fired, but Wright let the organization know his desire to stay at ‘Nova. Alas, the Sixers eventually hired Doc Rivers when Brown’s time ran out.
But Nick Nurse has certainly breathed new life into the franchise. He has the Sixers playing a very different brand of basketball and has the team at 12-5, right in the thick of it for the top spot in the East.
So, Wright becoming the Sixers’ head coach will always just be a fun “what if?”.