Jay Wright's staff shuffle

“We’re really excited about the chemistry of this staff,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. (Ron Cortes/Staff file photo)

It’s almost like Jay Wright has gotten the band back together.

Whatever the case, and the circumstances, Villanova’s head coach has welcomed two former assistants back to his staff in the past month.

Doug West is the latest to return. The former Wildcat star coached with Wright for three years, then left to pursue an opportunity in private business. But West, who was a frequent figure at the Wildcats’ home games last season, now is back as an assistant coach.

Wright had added Billy Lange, who left as Navy’s head coach last month after seven years to return to the Main Line. Lange was a member of Wright’s first staff back in 2001 and left in 2004. The next season, the Wildcats began a streak of what is now seven NCAA tournament appearances.


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Lange has been given the title of associate head coach, the first time Wright has designated one since Patrick Chambers left in 2009 to take the Boston University job.

So how’s that for a coincidence? Lange leaves Navy to come to ‘Nova. Ed DeChellis leaves the Penn State job to replace Lange. And now Chambers, who used to have the job Lange had under Wright, takes over for DeChellis in Happy Valley.

With the addition of Lange and West, Wright has juggled his staff. Lange replaced Chris Walker, who took an assistant coach job at Texas Tech.

The arrival of West means that Keith Urgo, who moved up to assistant coach last season after West's departure, has returned to his job as director of basketball operations. Urgo has been with Villanova since 2007.

Baker Dunleavy, who held the basketball operations post last season, has taken over as assistant strength and conditioning coach in what will be his second season on the staff.

“We’re really excited about the chemistry of this staff,” Wright said in the news release announcing West’s re-hiring. “They each have deep Villanova basketball ties and a great commitment to the mission of our university.”

The old/new coaches will get to work with the Wildcats early, because the team begins an exhibition tour of Europe on Aug. 7.

--Joe Juliano