Why did Jay Wright retire? The Villanova legend explains

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Why did Jay Wright retire? The Villanova legend explains originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Jay Wright's decision to step down from being Villanova's men's basketball head coach took the entire city of Philadelphia - and the entire college basketball world - by surprise.

Why would Wright, only 60 years old, step down as the Wildcats have cemented themselves as one of the country's most powerful and consistent programs?

The Bucks County native explained his shocking decision Friday morning at his retirement press conference.

MORE: Breaking down Jay Wright's legendary career by the numbers

Here's what Wright had to say:

"I've been thinking about it for a few years, you just think about it. But during this season it started to hit me that it was just the right time. I kind of looked at where my coaching was, everybody being in place, our staff, the team. As I said we wanted to leave this in a better place than we found it, and we want it to be strong and in a great position when we left. 

"I started to feel like I didn't have the edge that I've always had, where the edge always came natural to me, so I started evaluating it. I would never have to think about anything I did, I would just go into a meeting, go into a team meeting, I had everything set. So I started thinking, like, 'You've gotta get yourself fired up here, let's go.' 

"And we always say to our players, 'You're either 100 percent in or you're against us.' [...] Part of this process was them trying to convince me not to do this, and they're great salesmen, and one of the things they said was, '70 percent of you is as good as anybody else', which I appreciated. But we could never coach that way. We couldn't ask the players to give 100 percent and I'm giving 70 percent. So I just knew it was the right time, you know? 

"I told Mark at the end of the regular season - poor [Villanova Athletic Director] Mark [Jackson] had to live with, 'Don't tell anybody, but I'm going to do this.' So we went through a period where he tried to talk me out of it. But I - [Wright's wife] Patty and I knew then that it was going to have to be this year."

Very interesting.

And also super impressive self-awareness from Wright. Plenty of people in sports, from players to coaches to execs, are able to delude themselves into thinking they can hang long after their prime days have passed them by.

Instead, Wright saw the signs as they came to him and decided to act on it sooner rather than later. Respect.

Even in his exit, Wright stays one step ahead.