Villanova coach Kyle Neptune. Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Mar 13, 2024; New York City, NY, USA; Villanova Wildcats head coach Kyle Neptune reacts during the first half against the DePaul Blue Demons at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Since Jay Wright’s surprise retirement in April of 2022, things have been different for the Villanova Wildcats.

Kyle Neptune, Wright’s longtime assistant who had just completed his first season as head coach of the Fordham Rams was quickly selected as the successor in the hopes that the sustained success Wright had built would continue.

Through two seasons, that hasn’t quite been the case.

Villanova’s season came to an end Wednesday night with a 70-61 loss to the VCU Rams in the opening round of the NIT. The Wildcats finished the year with an 18-16 record and 10-10 record in Big East play. In Neptune’s first season, the team went 17-17 and 10-10 in Big East play.

While some thought the school may consider making a change, Villanova athletic director Mark Jackson shut that talk down on Thursday when he confirmed Neptune would be back next season. “Kyle’s our head coach moving forward,” Jackson said, via Dan Gelston of the Associated Press.

But, Jackson also noted that he’s aware of the decline of the program, saying, “I’m not going to sugarcoat things. Competitively on the court, we have some work to do. We all know what the standard is. We lived it.”

The Wildcats hadn’t gone back-to-back years without making the NCAA Tournament since they missed the cut in each of Wright’s first three seasons, but he then took them to the Big Dance in 16 of the next 17 seasons, making four trips to the Final Four and winning two NCAA Championships.

Perhaps more alarming is the fact that the Wildcats have finished in sixth place in the Big East in both of Neptune’s seasons in charge. The last Villanova finish below second place under Wright was the 2012-13 season when the team finished seventh.

The news didn’t go over well with fans on social media.

[Associated Press]