By Matt Leon
These are good days to be Widener men’s basketball coach Chris Carideo.
First off, his team sits at 9-2 on the season, after sweeping a pair of games on a trip to California. That includes a wild 117-104 win on Monday over Richard Nixon’s alma mater, Whittier College.
To compliment that, Carideo — who was a star player at Division III Widener in the ’90s — was recently selected for induction into the Philadelphia Small College Basketball Hall of Fame.
“When I found out, I was humbled to say the least,” Carideo tells KYW Newsradio. “There’s a lot of great players in there. You don’t really look back on your playing career as much when you’re coaching. But when I was told, I was extremely pleased and happy. My playing career feels like a long time ago, but to be inducted, I know the people that are inducted into that Hall of Fame, is a really special thing for me, personally.”
Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Chris Carideo in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
Deadly from the perimeter, Carideo played at Widener from 1991 to 1995. He was an All-American in 1995 and a four-time first team All-Middle Atlantic Conference pick.
When he graduated, the Ocean City, NJ native held the Division III record for three-point baskets with 402 (since broken), and he still holds the mark for consecutive games with a three-pointer (75). He is also Widener’s second all-time leading scorer (2,067 points).
Carideo has also served as an assistant at Widener and has been the head coach since 2006. He says still being so connected with his alma mater enhances this Hall of Fame honor.
“It makes it a little extra special for me now, to be inducted as a Widener basketball player into the Small College Hall of Fame and being the Widener coach. Being back here since ’06 has been a dream come true for me. We’ve had some success. Now that I’ve been at Widener as a player I got to the NCAA Tournament, as an assistant coach the NCAA Tournament, as a head coach the NCAA Tournament. Now being inducted into the Small College Hall of Fame as a Widener player… it’s kind of hard to kind of wrap my arms around a little bit. But it’s really special for me.”
So what are his favorite memories from his playing career?
“Two moments for me. Both of them were my senior year. One was, we beat Lebanon Valley in here, the year after they won the national championship. In the same game I broke the all-time three-point field goals made (record). I just remember that being a special moment, I had a lot of family and friends here. And then, getting into the NCAA Tournament my senior year. We got an at-large bid, we lost in our conference semis to Wilkes. Just finally getting to that point as a player, at Widener, and being able to get into the tournament, because all our hard work as a team paid off.”
The induction ceremony will take place in March.