The court where Phil Colicchio’s Linden boys basketball teams achieved so many highlights over the past 16 years now bears his name.
“Coach Colicchio Court” was unveiled during a ceremony Tuesday night prior to the Tigers’ 69-41 win over Newark Vocational.
“Tonight we’ll honor a great coach, a great man,” said longtime MSG broadcast personality Mike Quick, who emceed the event. “I’ve been in the locker room with Phil before some of the biggest games he’s ever coached. The man is never nervous. Tonight, he is nervous.”
The Linden board of education bestowed the honor — virtually unheard of for an active coach — and a huge crowd turned out for the unveiling.
“Each little piece of this hardwood should have the name of a Jamaal Tate or Gregory Parker or Tony Wilson or Desmond Wade or Muhammad Wilkerson,” Colicchio told MyCentralJersey.com on Monday. “All of my great players should have their own little piece of this floor. My name is on it because of all their hard work. They gave me the ability to be a good basketball coach and be successful.”
Known annually for their relentless defense, Colicchio’s Tigers have won five sectional titles — including a squeaker over Ridge at home in last year’s North 2 Group IV final — plus two Union County Tournament crowns and three NJSIAA Group IV championships. This year’s squad is 5-1 and one of the top contenders to win Group IV.
Linden’s old-school, orange-tinged, 900-seat gym off of St. Georges Avenue is one of the toughest home venues in the state, and now the court bears Colicchio’s name in two spots.
“I’ve worked for four great superintendents and we’ve always had support — the mayor, everybody was in our corner,” Colicchio said. “It put pressure on me to win, but winning was something that should have happened because everything is in place to win.”
Colicchio said he “got chills” when he first saw the inscription on the court. “I have to say, it’s a pretty cool thing,” he said. “Pretty surreal.”