Villanova Wildcats

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Villanova Wildcats
University Villanova University
Conference Big East
CAA (football)
NCAA Division I / FCS
Athletic director Mark Jackson
Location Villanova, PA
Varsity teams 24
Football stadium Villanova Stadium
Basketball arena The Pavilion (on campus)
Wells Fargo Center (high-attendance games)
Baseball stadium Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth
Mascot Will D. Cat
Nickname Wildcats
Fight song "V for Villanova"
     Navy       White

The Villanova Wildcats is the name of the athletic teams of Villanova University. They compete in the Big East (NCAA Division I) for every sport except football, where they compete in the Colonial Athletic Association (Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA). On December 15, 2012, Villanova and the other six Catholic, non-FBS schools announced that they were departing the Big East for a new conference.[1] This conference assumed the Big East name on July 1, 2013.

Men's basketball

The Villanova Wildcats compete in the Big East Basketball Conference and are coached by Jay Wright. Coach Wright has taken the Wildcats to 10 consecutive postseasons including 7 consecutive trips (2005–2011) to the NCAA Tournament. The 2011-12 team struggled and missed postseason but Coach Wright brought a surprising young team back to the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Villanova has appeared in the NIT 17 times, winning in 1994, and won the Big East Tournament in 1995. The Wildcats joined the Big East for the 1981 season.

The Villanova Wildcats have appeared in the NCAA Men's Tournament 32 times, the 8th highest total in NCAA history have reached the Elite Eight 12 times. They have been to the Final Four of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship on four occasions. The 1939 team coached by Al Severance reached the inaugural NCAA Final Four played at the Palestra for the 1939 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. All-American Howard Porter led a Wildcat team coached by Jack Kraft to Final Four of the 1971 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. Coach Rollie Massimino took Villanova to the amazing 1985 National Championship. Current Coach Jay Wright reached the Final Four at the 2009 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament behind Dante Cunningham and Scottie Reynolds.

Villanova won the 1985 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament with a historic 66-64 win over top-seeded Georgetown. The eighth-seeded Wildcats (unranked in the final AP poll) beat Dayton (at Dayton), top-seeded Michigan, Maryland and second-seeded North Carolina to win the Southeast Regional en route to the Final Four in Lexington, Kentucky. After defeating 2-seed Memphis State in the national semifinals, Villanova met defending champion and ten-point-favorite Georgetown, led by Patrick Ewing, in the title game on April 1, 1985. The Wildcat squad remains the lowest overall seed in tournament history to win the championship, and their overall team shooting percentage of 78.6% remains an NCAA tournament record for a single game. This Championship Game is often cited among the greatest upsets in college basketball history. Ed Pinckney, who shot 5-of-7 and had 16 points in the game, was named the NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

Women's basketball

600th win

The Villanova Wildcats women's basketball team are coached by Harry Perretta,[2] now serving his 34th year as head coach of the team. They play their home games in The Pavilion on the Villanova campus. The Women's basketball program started in 1969 and played under CIAW and AIAW through 1981-82 season before moving to NCAA Division I. In the 81-82 season, the Wildcats posted an outstanding 29-4 record and reached the Final Four of the 1982 AIAW Women's Basketball Tournament before losing to eventual National Champion, Rutgers. Through the 2009-10 season, the Villanova Women have a 669-413 alltime record since the program started in 1969. Previous head coaches include Liz Cawley (1969–70), Jane Sefranek-Stoltz (1970–75) and Joan King (1975–78). The 1982-83 season was the initial season for Villanova Women's basketball to play NCAA Division I and they joined the Big East Conference that same season. Villanova was the Big East regular season and tournament champions in both 1985-86 and 1986-87 behind All-American Shelly Pennefather.

During the 2008-09 season, Coach Perretta led the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in his Villanova career. This marked the ninth postseason appearance in the previous 10 years for the Wildcats. After playing in the 2000 WNIT, Villanova went to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments from 2001-2004 before playing in the WNIT in 2005, 2006 and 2008.

The 2002-03 season was a special one for the Wildcats. In addition to an impressive 28-6 overall record and a 12-4 Big East Conference mark, the Wildcats won their third Big East Conference Tournament championship and first since 1987 with an improbable 52-48 upset over previously unbeaten Connecticut. The win snapped Connecticut's then NCAA Division I women's basketball record of 70-straight victories and ended Connecticut's streak of nine-straight conference tournament championships.

The dean of the Big East and Big 5 coaches, Harry Perretta has brought the Wildcats national respect and success during his tenure at Villanova which began in 1978 at the age of 22. Coach Perretta reached a coaching milestone on November 12, 2011 with a win over Iona, representing the 600th win of his career. He is the 35th coach in the history of women's basketball at any level to reach the 600 win plateau, including the 22nd to accomplish the feat at the Division I level. Perretta is only the seventh NCAA Division I coaches to have 600 victories all at one school.[3] On February 8, 2012, Perretta reached another milestone as he became the seventh coach across all NCAA divisions to coach 1,000 games at the same institution. Perretta was named the 2009 Big East Conference Co-Coach of the Year. That was the third time in his career that he has garnered Big East Coach of the Year distinction. He has led the Wildcats to fourteen seasons of 20 wins or more. Since joining the Big East in 1982, Perretta has compiled a 200-175 conference record through 2010.

Shelly Pennefather, was recognized in 1987 as the nation's top women's college basketball player, winning the Margaret Wade Trophy and earning Kodak All-America honors. Pennefather was the first 3-time winner of the Big East Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Year. She is the all-time leading scorer in the history of Villanova basketball with 2408 points. Pennefather was named the best Colorado Girls High school player of all-time and led Bishop Machebeuf Catholic High School to a 96-0 record and 3 State Championships.


The Wildcats compete in the Colonial Athletic Association and are coached by Andy Talley who is the winningest football coach in school history with a 190-117-1 (.617) record. Since moving to I-AA, Villanova has made 9 appearances in the I-AA/FCS playoffs making trips to the NCAA Semifinal in 2002 and 2010 and winning the 2009 FCS National Championship. The Wildcats played in the NCAA Division I Football Championship game on December 18, 2009 against the University of Montana Grizzlies. The Wildcats beat the Grizzlies 23–21 to win their first NCAA Division I-AA National Championship.

Villanova played in bowl games following the 1936, 1947, 1948, 1961, and 1962 college football seasons. After 87 seasons, the Board of Trustees voted to drop Football in April 1981 due to financial losses and poor attendance. In April, 1984, the Board of Trustess agreed to reinstate Football at a lower level and Villanova began playing football again in Fall of 1985 under Head Coach Andy Talley. The program began competing in Division I-AA (now Division I FCS) level during the 1988 season.

Villanova football has sent 36 players to the NFL over the years including Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long, formerly of the Oakland Raiders and All-Pro running back Brian Westbrook of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Villanova plays the University of Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens in the "Battle of the Blue". Villanova leads the all-time series which was first played in 1895 by the margin of 23-21-1. The Wildcats have a current four-year series where they will play Temple University Owls for the Philadelphia "Mayor's Cup". Villanova won the inaugural game in September 2009 but dropped the next two games to the FBS school. Villanova still leads the all-time series that started in 1928 by the margin of 16-14-2. The Wildcats also play University of Pennsylvania Quakers in most recent seasons with many of the games held at historic Franklin Field. The series was first played in 1905 and Villanova has an 11-5 lead.

There has been some discussion regarding a potential promotion to the Football Bowl Subdivision and into the Big East in which they already participate for all other Sports. In September 2010, the Big East informally spoke with Villanova about joining for football. The school conducted several feasibility studies but a scheduled April 12, 2011 Board of Trustees vote was never taken after several Big East Football schools objected to their use of PPL Park as an unacceptable venue for future games. The stadium currently holds only 18,500 but is expandable at the discretion of the Philadelphia Union soccer organization.

Men's lacrosse

The Villanova Wildcats men's lacrosse team represents Villanova University in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I men's lacrosse. Villanova currently competes as a member of the Big East Conference and plays their home games at Villanova Stadium in Villanova, Pennsylvania. Coach Michael Corrado has taken the team to its only two NCAA appearances in history during his 6-year tenure and the school is poised for greater success in upcoming seasons.

Villanova rose as high as #7 ranking and qualified for an at-large bid in the 2011 NCAA Tournament where they lost to the University of Denver in the first round. During the regular season, the Wildcats drew over 6500 fans to a Big East match-up with Syracuse setting a new on-campus record for Lacrosse. Brian Karalunas became the first USILA First Team All-American in Villanova history.

[4] Through 2009, Villanova men's lacrosse was a member of the Colonial Athletic Association and won the CAA tournament for their first title in 2009.[5] The fourth-seeded Wildcats were the lowest-seeded championship team in conference history.[6] That season, Villanova also made their first NCAA tournament appearance, where they were routed in the first round by first-seeded Virginia, 18–6.[7]

The 2004 team finished 13-3 playing against the stiff competition of the CAA.

Track and field

Villanova University's Track and field team has a history of athletic success that has spanned from Big East Conference Championships to NCAA Championships.[8]

The men's team has produced 69 NCAA championships, 36 indoor and 33 outdoor. The team has had 8 NCAA team championships—4 cross country, 3 indoor ('68, '71, '79), 1 outdoor ('57). Prior to NCAA sponsoring Indoor T&F in 1965, Villanova won 6 ICAAAA Indoor T&F Championships ('57, '58, '60, '62, '63, '64). Villanova has produced 28 athletes who have made appearances in the Olympics, 10 of whom have medaled (7 Gold medals, 3 Silver medals). The men's team has also won 112 Penn Relays Championships, which stands as the most wins by any school. The men's current coaches include head coach, Marcus O'Sullivan, and assistant head coach, Anthony Williams.[8]

The women's team has also had a multitude of success, producing 10 Big East team Championships and 7 NCAA team Championships. They have also produced 7 Olympians including Vicki Huber, Sonia O'Sullivan, Kim Certain, Kate Fonshell, Jen Rhines, Carmen Douma, and Carrie Tollefson. The Women's team has won 28 Penn Relays Championships, which is the most wins by any women's program. The current women's coaches include head coach, Gina Procaccio, and assistant head coach, Anthony Williams.[8]

At least one Villanova athlete has competed in every Summer Olympics since 1948, winning a total of 13 medals (9 gold, 4 silver).[9]

Cross country

Villanova Men's and Women's Cross Country teams have a successful history of Big East Conference and NCAA National Championships. Villanova won both the Men's and Women's Big East Cross Country Team Titles in 2011.

The 2011 women's Cross Country team finished as national runner-up led by Sheila Reid individual title. In 2010 and 2009, the women's cross country team won the NCAA Women's Cross Country Championship under Coach Gina Procaccio. The 2010 victory was led by individual national champion Sheila Reid of Villanova who repeated her NCAA individual crown in 2011.

The Wildcats hold the NCAA Division I record for the most NCAA Team and Individual Women's Cross Country Champions with 9 NCAA Team Championships ('89, '90, '91, '92, '93, '94, '98, '09, '10) and 9 NCAA individual champions, 7 of which coincided.

NCAA Individual Cross Country Champions

The 2011 Villanova Men's Cross Country team finished 13th in the Team competition at NCAA meet.[10] Villanova has won 4 NCAA Men's Cross Country Team Championships covering 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1970.

NCAA Individual Cross Country Champions

  • Victor Zwolak 1963

Swimming and diving

In its history, Villanova Swimming and Diving has produced several Olympians. Most recently Maddy Crippen competed in the 400m individual medley at the 2000 Olympics. At the 2008 Olympics, Villanova was represented by Kristina Lennox-Silva. Lennox competed for Puerto Rico and swam the 400m freestyle and 200m butterfly.

National team championships

As of July 2, 2015, Villanova has 19 NCAA team national championships.[11]

  • Women's (9)
    • Cross Country (9): 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998, 2009, 2010

Conference realignment

In December 2012 the presidents of seven Big East schools which do not sponsor FBS football (also sometimes referred to as the "Catholic 7"), including Villanova, voted unanimously to leave the Big East and form a new conference. The new conference, which kept the Big East name, officially began on July 1, 2013.

Notable non varsity sports


Villanova Ruby Football Club
University Villanova University
Association USA Rugby
Conference Keystone Confernce

The Villanova Rugby Football Club regained its official sanctioning by the University in 2010, after losing this status and being classified as a recreational sport during the 1990s.[12] The college rugby team has been able to develop a roster of over 50 players, due in part to the growing popularity of rugby at the high school level,[12] and the Wildcats are supported by a network of rugby alumni that contribute towards the cost of the rugby program.[13] The Wildcats are led by head coach Jack Foley, a former Villanova RFC athlete, USA 7's player, and a head coach at various programs since 1998. Recently, the Wildcats played at the 2013 Collegiate Rugby Championship, the highest profile competition in college rugby, which was broadcast live on NBC from PPL Park in Philadelphia. Currently, Villanova competes in the D1-AA Keystone Conference for both 15's and 7's rugby. The team also schedules out of conference games, such as its win over Columbia University in the fall of 2015.

See also


  1. "Seven schools leaving Big East". December 15, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Harry Perreta". Villanova University.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 2009 Villanova Men's Lacrosse Quick Facts (PDF), Villanova University, retrieved May 14, 2009.
  5. Villanova claims first CAA title with 10-9 win over Towson, Inside Lacrosse, May 2, 2009.
  6. Villanova Secures First CAA Men's Lacrosse Title, National Collegiate Athletic Association, May 3, 2009.
  7. Virginia crushes Villanova, 18–6, faces Hopkins in next round, The Baltimore Sun, May 11, 2009.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "RUNNOVA". Retrieved 2008-02-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Villanova magazine, Summer 2008, "Villanovans have won 20 Olympic Medals"
  12. 12.0 12.1 The Villanovan, University restores club charter to men’s rugby, Sep. 22, 2010,
  13., Orphaned Rugby Club Wins On The Main Line Without Villanova, Dec. 24, 1997,

External links