One of the most decorated players in school history, Chris Carideo is in his 12th season as the head men’s basketball coach and as an Assistant Athletic Director at Widener. He is just the program’s third coach in the last 48 years and has helped the Pride remain among the nation’s elite with bigger and better things to come.
Carideo’s run has seen him become the only Widener coach in any sport to lead his program to the NCAA Tournament in his first three years. The Pride followed their 15-13 record in 2006-07 with a 23-6 mark in 2007-08 and a second consecutive Commonwealth Conference title. The third straight crown in 2008-09 saw the Pride again win the league with a 23-6 record and host an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in eight years.
In 2011-12, Perry Wright was named an All-American as well as the Commonwealth Conference Player of the Year. Jack Brennan was named second team all-league for the second straight year.
Over 10 seasons, Carideo owns a 161-127 record at Widener and is already the second winningest coach in school history. He also has a 247-179 ledger over 16 seasons as a head coach.
In addition to his responsibilities at Widener, Carideo was the head coach for a group of Division II and III players from around the country that took part in a tour to play games against professional competition in Europe during the summer of 2010. He went on a return trip to Europe in 2011 and had three Widener players travel with him as part of the group.
Prior to his arrival at Widener, Carideo spent five seasons as the head men’s basketball coach at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. He piloted the Mariners to Skyline Conference regular season and tournament championships in 2002 and 2003 as well as NCAA Tournament appearances in each of those years, which included a trip to the second round in 2003. Carideo was the 2002 Skyline Conference Coach of the Year and still remains second on the Academy’s all-time wins list with 86 victories.
Off the court, the Ocean City, N.J. native was an assistant to the associate athletics director, a physical education instructor, a minority recruiter for the Academy and helped coordinate camps and clinics.
Before becoming a head coach, Carideo was an assistant on the sidelines at Widener and USMMA between 1995 and 2001. During this time, he was most notably a part of the Pride’s Middle Atlantic Conference championship team in 2000 and helped navigate the Mariners to a 22-8 mark and the school’s first NCAA Tournament “Sweet 16” appearance in 2001.
Carideo began coaching after completing one of the most storied athletic careers in the school annals from 1991-95, which was capped with an All-America campaign his senior season. He became the eighth player in program history to achieve the honor after being named to the All-MAC First Team all four seasons.
Widener’s current mentor led the country by shooting 95.5 percent from the line in 1991-92 and graduated after hitting 402 three-pointers, which was then an NCAA Division III record and now ranks third best. He still holds the nation’s top mark by hitting a 3-pointer in 75 straight games. Carideo is second in school history with 2,067 points, fourth with 699 baskets and owns the top four single-season marks in 3-pointers made and attempted.
During his All-America season, Carideo scored 616 points, which is the second-best mark in school history, and netted a program-best 113 three-pointers. This helped Widener advance to the NCAA Tournament, and he was later inducted into the Philadelphia Small College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.
After graduating from Widener in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and secondary education, Carideo played one season professionally for the Trenton Flames of the International Basketball League. He resides in Woodlyn with his wife, Stephanie, and son, C.J. (1).