New podcast is up with my friend Father Rob Hagan! Father Rob is most well known for being an incredible asset to the Villanova University Community, where he is both the basketball and football Chaplain and Senior Athletic Director.

Coach Jay Wright gave him the honor of being the last person to cut down the net after the 2018 Championship game. Coach Wright remarked the following about Father Rob: “I think every player and every member of our staff will tell you Father Rob is one of the greatest men any of us have in our lives. He has been an integral part of the program and my life, I count on him as a dear friend. Our whole team and staff attend a prayer service before every game. It starts with Father Rob doing a reading from the Bible and then a homily. He’s never talking about the game, he’s talking about life — and what kind of men we are and what kind of Christians we are. I always joke with Father, don’t make us cry before the game!!”

When I met Father Rob last month, I had just lost my dad and he also lost his dad suddenly at the age of 18, so we instantly made a connection and he was able to provide me with profound wisdom I will never forget.

So quick background on Father — he is from Philadelphia, went to Cardinal O’Hara for high school, graduated from Villanova in 1987 and then immediately went to law school. He was a successful attorney for seven years, living a very normal life for a young man in his 20s and early 30s. Then when he was 32, he decided he wanted to become an Augustinian. After six years of additional education, he was ordained a priest in 2003 and has never looked back.

Throughout our conversation, he not only takes on his life journey but also provides us with valuable universal life lessons on humbleness, small acts of kindness, patience, overcoming failure, how to handle losing a loved one, and so much more. Please enjoy!

 

Books:

Green Bananas: The Wisdom of Father Bill Atkinson

Hi everyone! Super excited to share my conversation with Villanova Head Basketball Coach Jay Wright, who is most well-known for winning the 2016 and 2018 National Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament. This podcast is also a special tribute to my dad, Tony Hayden, who passed away peacefully on October 9th at the age of 74 and was a lifelong Philadelphia basketball sports fan. I interviewed Coach Wright on Wednesday, September 26th and that night I gave my dad a sneak preview to the interview. My dad was one of the toughest critics of all time and I am happy to report that he loved every second of my conversation with Coach Wright! I hope you guys do too!

Quick background on Coach Wright: he and his wonderful wife named Patty have three children. Coach was born and raised right outside of Philadelphia in Bucks County where he went to Council Rock High School and then Bucknell University. He had a marketing job right out of college in Philadelphia before he took his first coaching job in 1984 at the University of Rochester. He went on to be the Assistant Coach at Drexel University, then Villanova University, and then the University of Nevada. He moved on to Head Coach at Hofstra University in 1994 and finally, Villanova in 2001.

Although Coach Wright has had an incredible amount of success, it’s important to remember that he started from the very bottom. Just like anyone else, he experienced a tremendous amount of failure and setbacks throughout his career and has had to use grit, perseverance, and a positive attitude to get to where he is today. What I absolutely loved the most about my conversation with Coach Wright is that even with all of his success, he is still the most humble and kindest person ever.