Wright is in his 16th year at Villanova, where he not only dominates on the court - but he does it in style.
You’ve seen the clip: As Kris Jenkins sinks the 3-point buzzer-beater to clinch the NCAA championship against the UNC Tar Heels last April, Villanova coach Jay Wright utters one word: “Bang.” Chaos ensues. The team erupts in jubilation. Fans clutch one another and weep. Yet Wright always keeps his cool.
“But trust me,” he says, “I’m not as calm as I look.”
He might not be calm, but he sure is prepared.
Wright is in his 16th year at Villanova, where he not only dominates on the court - but he does it in style. Here are hiis tools for looking good under pressure.
Each game, Wright wears one of his 25 custom suits made by his tailor, Gabriele D’Annunzio, paired with a dress shirt, tie, pocket square, and the occasional tie bar.
That’s not to suggest he doesn’t have help: He double-checks his look with his wife. (He's partially colorblind, so he needs a little help putting together the look.) He’s not a clotheshorse—it’s his uniform.
Suiting up puts Wright into the right frame of mind to do his job.
Before every game, the coach writes down his strategy on a piece of paper - offense on one side, defense on the other. Sometimes Wright will add a brief phrase: “Trust our effort,” “It’s in God’s hands now.”
He folds it in half and stashes it in his pack pocket.
“I usually don’t look at it,” he says. “But writing it down, known that it’s there - that calms me.”
It’s not about a single team, either. It’s about recognizing all the work that happened before you were hired and the work that will be done after you’re gone.
“If you see a stonecutter tapping at his rock, he might tap 100 times,” Wright says.
“But once it cracks, it wasn’t that 101st blow that did it - it was all the blows that came before.”
Win or lose, Wright’s post-game’s the same: He and his wife, Patty, share some wine on the couch and watch a replay. It’s a chance to remind himself how much he enjoys the game.
“She’s always excited to watch it,” he says, “then falls asleep three minutes in.”
It’s also a reality check—there’s more to a full life than work.