SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Villanova head coach Jay Wright will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of its class of 2021, it was announced by ESPN.
In 27 seasons as head coach, including seven at Hofstra University (1994-2001) and the last 20 at Villanova University, Wright has notched 612 victories, including both the 2016 and 2018 NCAA national championships.
“On behalf of the Villanova community and the entire Nova Nation, congratulations to Jay on this well-deserved honor,” said Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD. “While the numerous championships, wins and awards Jay has amassed over his career are impressive, I am the most proud of the culture he has created and the program he has built here at Villanova. He is a consummate professional and a humble leader who has been a positive influence—on and off the court—to the countless student-athletes he has coached over the years, and I can think of no one more deserving of a place in the Hall of Fame.”
“Jay is both a world class coach and world class person,” added Director of Athletics Mark Jackson. “He and Patty have been incredible friends to so many in our community and are wonderful ambassadors for our University. We couldn’t be more thrilled for both of them and look forward to celebrating this with the Nova Nation later this year.”
Today at a private event held in the newly renovated Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the 16 honorees in the Class of 2021 were announced on ESPN. The Class of 2021 will be enshrined in Springfield, Mass. on Saturday, September 11.
This year’s class includes nine honorees from the North American and Women’s committees: ninth-winningest coach in NBA history Rick Adelman, two-time NBA champion and 11-time NBA All-Star Chris Bosh, NBA Finals MVP and 10-time NBA All-Star Paul Pierce, the first Black NBA head coach Bill Russell, four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and NBA Champion Ben Wallace, five-time NBA All-Star and NBA Rookie of the Year Chris Webber, two-time NCAA national champion Villanova coach Jay Wright, seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Yolanda Griffith and seven-time WNBA All-Star and three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson.
Distinguished committees focused on preserving all areas from the game also selected seven directly elected enshrinees: Val Ackerman, Cotton Fitzsimmons and Howard Garfinkel from the Contributor Committee, Clarence “Fats” Jenkins from the Early African American Pioneers Committee, Toni Kukoc from the International Committee, Bob Dandridge from the Veterans Committee and Pearl Moore from the Women’s Veterans Committee.
“For the first time in our history, we’ll enshrine two Classes in one calendar year,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome the Class of 2021 to Springfield – the Birthplace of Basketball – where we can celebrate them and honor their remarkable achievements and contributions to the game.”
COURTESY NAISMITH HALL OF FAME, BIG EAST CONFERENCE & VILLANOVA ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS