Jay Wright Presents Pope With Autographed Championship Basketball

Kristen Johanson
April 15, 2018 - 3:41 pm
Jay Wright Pope Francis

Photo credit: Vatican News via Villanova University


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- It was a divine moment Saturday for Villanova basketball. Head coach Jay Wright and university leaders made a visit to Vatican City for an extraordinary meeting of the Catholics.  

"It was a very moving event for all of us," said Villanova University President Father Peter Donohue.

Father Donohue and several school leaders met with Pope Francis as part of a meeting on Catholic education and the Augustinian tradition, when the Pontiff was handed a gift.

"When Coach Wright presented him with the basketball, he smiled and said, 'Do you want me to sign this?'" Donohue said. "And we said, 'No, it's a present for you from our championship team.' And he laughed and he went, 'I don't play basketball, but thank you very much!'"

The pope told Wright he instead was a soccer fan, but knew the men's team had just won their third National Championship. 

"One of the bishops actually put his hands up in a 'V' and said 'Go Villanova,'" Donohue said.

The meeting lasted about a half hour.

"He blessed us all, thanked us for our work," Donohue said. "And his final message to us was, 'Please, pray for me.'"