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Tigers Sports

2008-09 Union County Coach of the Year

Posted Saturday, October 10, 2009 by Mike Kinney of the Newark Star-Ledger
Coach of the year
Mike Kinney of the Newark Star-Ledger

Phil Colicchio of Linden was Union County's Coach of the Year in 2001 and The Star-Ledger's State Coach of the Year in 2006 after guiding his team to the Group 4 title. But his excellent work in those seasons may have paled in comparison to what he did this year to make Linden finish at 14-13. First of all, Linden had graduated arguably its most important player ever, point guard Desmond Wade, last June. Another huge loss came in mid-January when St. Joseph’s-bound forward David Bruce was deemed academically ineligible for the rest of the season by Linden’s strict standards. That policy also sidelined sophomore point guard Elijah Hodge for four games in the middle of the season. Nonetheless, Linden stayed competitive behind Colicchio’s suffocating defense and the audacious confidence he always seems to instill in his players, no matter how small or inexperienced. Linden beat two Star-Ledger Top 20 teams this season, Shabazz and Plainfield, and gave No. 1 St. Patrick one of its toughest games all season, a 49-36 loss Feb. 26 in the Union County Tournament semifinals.

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