By Peter Gleason

So, legendary Villanova coach Jay Wright is giving up the ghost after 21 years, two NCAA titles, four Finals Fours.

And he’s reportedly staying at the school to be an whisperer to president Peter Donahue.

We’ll never again see him pacing the sidelines in his bespoke suits or even his bespoke sweats, looking like George Clooney and coaching like John Wooden.

Because the truth is he is the greatest coach in the glorious history of the Big 5.

Take it from Joe Lunardi, ESPN’s bracketologist and St, Joe’s man:

The day after Villanova reached its latest Final Four, the most popular topic on sports radio in Philadelphia was unusually sensible: Is Jay Wright the greatest coach — any sport, any level — in the city’s history? With the shocking news of Wright’s retirement, the answer is equally sensible. If Jay isn’t the No. 1 answer, he’s on a very, very short list.

Start with Villanova. Al Severance, Jack Kraft, Rollie Massimino, Steve Lappas. Major legacies for all, including Massimino’s wondrous NCAA title in 1985. Wright laps the field.

The legendary Philadelphia Big 5 has produced one Hall of Fame coach after another: Harry Litwack, Dr. Jack Ramsay, Tom Gola, Chuck Daly, Massimino, John Chaney. Many are giants in the city and beyond, but Wright surpassed them all as a college coach.

What do John Thompson, Jim Boeheim and Massimino have in common? They are Big East icons with multiple Final Four appearances and a national championship to their name. Wright bested each and added an Olympic gold medal for good measure.

One could argue it was Wright, not his mentor Massimino, who killed the Big 5 — simply by being too good. Or that it was Wright who saved the Big East when it was reborn a decade ago. In the first five years of the “new” Big East, all Villanova did was win two national championships, collect three No. 1 seeds and go well over five full seasons without losing two games in a row. Think about that.

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