Villanova basketball has finalized its 2017-18 coaching staff, with three staffers assuming new roles.
George Halcovage, who has been with the team since 2008 and spent last season as the director of basketball operations, is now an Assistant Coach to Jay Wright. Halcovage assumes the role left open by Baker Dunleavy, who is now the head coach at Quinnipiac University.
“George is a longtime member of our staff who has been ready for this position for a long time,” Wright said. “We are excited about him taking the next step in his career at Villanova.”
Former Wildcats guard Mike Nardi will take Halcovage's spot as the director of basketball operations for the upcoming season. Nardi served as a video coordinator last season and was the director of player development during Villanova's championship run in 2015-16.
“It’s great to have a player of Mike’s caliber working his way up on our staff,” Wright said. “He is a talented coach with a bright future in our business.”
Finally, Mike Clark, who spent the past two seasons as a graduate manager is the program's new video coordinator.
“Mike has been in our program for six years and continues to impress everyone on our staff,” Wright stated. “Mike is extremely creative in his field of branding, marketing and video and we have already benefitted from his skill in those areas.”
Villanova will be playing all of its home games away from campus this season as The Pavilion undergoes renovations.
And for one night in November, the Wildcats will call Allentown home.
The program announced Monday that the 'Cats will host Lafayette at Allentown's PPL Center on Friday, Nov 17. Game time and broadcast information will be released at a later date.
This will actually mark the second time the Wildcats host a game at PPL Center, home of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Flyers' AHL minor-league affiliate. The 'Cats hosted Lehigh there in November 2014 and came away with a 77-66 victory in the first college basketball game ever played at the arena, which opened in September of that year.
With the renovations to soon-to-be-rechristened Finneran Pavilion underway, Jay Wright's team is expected to play the vast majority of its games this season at the Wells Fargo Center, its home away from home for the last several years. The Wildcats' full schedule and game location details are expected to be released sometime in September.
The 'Cats are coming off a 32-4 season that included Big East regular-season and conference tournament titles and the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament but also ended in bittersweet fashion with a second-round upset loss to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament.
Lafayette is coming off the heels of an ugly 9-21 record that at one point included a nine-game losing streak from Jan. 11 to Feb. 5.
The Wildcats and Leopards met in last year's season opener at The Pavilion and the 'Cats promptly asserted dominance with an 88-44 victory.
Villanova's women's basketball team will also play at PPL Center on Nov. 17 as it will host Lehigh.
The Wildcats' women's team, which will play its home games this coming season on campus at Jake Nevin Fieldhouse, went 20-15 last season reached the semis of the WNIT before falling to Michigan.
Villanova on Friday added another top recruit in 6-foot-8 Cole Swider, who will be a senior this upcoming school year at St. Andrew's in Barrington, Rhode Island.
Swider chose Villanova over Duke, Syracuse and Xavier.
ESPN ranks Swider, who is viewed as an elite shooter, as its No. 48 recruit in the 2018 class.
Swider joins a 2018 Villanova recruiting class that also includes Brandon Slater, a shooting guard from Paul VI in Fairfax, Virginia. Slater was ESPN's No. 42 recruit in the 2018 class.
The Wildcats lost a pair of key players this season in Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart, but help isn't too far away. Omari Spellman, who was ruled academically ineligible last season, will play for the Wildcats this season, and then next year they'll welcome Swider and Slater.