By Harry Allison
Villanova is temporarily pausing after the hoops program after several COVID-19 positive test results affecting Tier 1 staff members, it announced yesterday.
Two members of the coaching staff were among the positive results including head coach Jay Wright, who is in isolation and experiencing “mild symptoms,” the program said.
“Our players have been very diligent and disciplined with all of the COVID protocols,” Wright said in a statement issued by the program. “Unfortunately, we have had two staff members test positive. I am one of them. My symptoms are mild, and we remain connected as a team and staff by phone and Zoom. I am grateful to our Team Physician, Dr. Mike Duncan, who has worked tirelessly to help guide us safely through this.”
No. 5 Villanova’s game against No. 22 Xavier on Saturday, Jan. 2 has been postponed as a result of the positive tests. It’s unclear right now how games beyond Jan. 2 will be affected, if at all. The Wildcats are scheduled to face DePaul on Jan. 5 followed by Marquette on Jan. 8.
Wright’s positive test comes less than two weeks after Villanova’s women’s team paused activities in accordance with COVID-19 protocols. Because the men’s and women’s team share facilities, Wright earlier this month expressed concern about the arrangement.
“That really concerns me because we share the same hallways, we share the same practice facility, we share the same training room,” he said.
This marks the second time the Villanova men’s team has paused because of COVID-19 protocols after doing so for two weeks just before the season began. The majority of programs in the Big East have been forced to halt activities indefinitely at some point already, including upcoming opponents DePaul and Marquette.
Wright joins crowded company among the growing list of head coaches to have been directly impacted by the virus. Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Alabama’s Nate Oats and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim are among the many this year who have contracted COVID-19 and already recovered.