By Sally Fahey

Jay Wright must really love coaching at Villanova, where he has made three Final Four appearances since becoming the head man in 2001 and winning two NCAA titles in 2016 and 2018.

Because he just turned down huge bucks to go to UCLA!

According to the Los Angeles Times, UCLA had a list of top-tier coaches it was pursuing, including Villanova’s Jay Wright.

Josh Rebholz, an associate athletic director leading the search at UCLA, communicated with donors via text message that the Bruins had offered to double Wright’s salary to come to Los Angeles, the report said.

“We would have loved for Jay Wright to walk out on the floor, but even when we offered to double his salary, he still wasn’t coming,” Rebholz said in the text. “Nothing we can do about that. But I am proud of our effort. We didn’t assume anything, took our shots and I believe will end up with a solid coach who will embrace UCLA and build a program we all can be proud of and root for.”

According to USA Today’s NCAA men’s basketball salary database, Wright is making $3,878,768 a year to coach the Wildcats. That makes him the eighth-highest paid coach in Division I.

Ahead of Wright on the list are three coaches UCLA was also pursuing: Kentucky’s John Calipari (No. 1), Michigan State’s Tom Izzo (3) and Virginia’s Tony Bennett (4).

The Bruins settled on Mike Cronin, a fine coach who had great success at Cincinnati.