Corino announces retirement as Head Basketball Coach at D2 Caldwell University

Caldwell University Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mark A. Corino has announced his retirement as the head coach of the men’s basketball program after 34 years at Caldwell and 39 years of coaching. Corino will continue in his role as the Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics for the department that he has led since 1988. This transition will occur at the end of September of this year.

“I will have a very difficult time trying to fully express my gratitude to all who have supported me over the past 30-plus years, in my coaching career,” Corino said. “I could not have gotten through it all without the love and support of my family, friends, our Caldwell University men’s basketball players, the continuous support of the Caldwell University community and my assistant coaches (past and present), especially my longtime assistant coach Dean Johnson, who has been by my side for over 30 years.”

Corino’s coaching career spans nearly 40 years, which includes 34 seasons leading the Cougars. He has built one of the most successful men’s basketball programs in the state of New Jersey during his time at Caldwell, where he has amassed over 500 career victories with the Cougars. Corino previously coached for five seasons at Bloomfield College and has a 606-494 career record between the two institutions.

Caldwell President Matthew Whelan, Ed.D. said, “Today, with the retirement of Mark Corino, we have lost a legend on the basketball court. However, Mark Corino, New Jersey’s winningest men’s basketball coach, is, and will forever be, woven into the fabric of Caldwell. I look forward to the next chapter with him as together, we weave a future of new opportunities with Mark as Athletic Director steering our student athletes and programs to new heights.”

On the court, Corino has been one of the most successful college coaches in the state of New Jersey. Corino passed legendary Princeton University Head Coach Pete Carril with his 515th victory in a 103-68 win against Dominican College on January 10, 2015 and passed the previous all-time leader in wins, former Stockton University Head Coach Gerry Matthews (603 career wins) on January 8, 2022. He is one of only three head coaches in New Jersey with over 500 career victories.

Corino commented, “I must say thank you to the Dominican Sisters and the administration that brought me here to Caldwell in August 1988. That includes former Dean for Students Kathy Detlet, former Vice President for Student Life Sister Michel Rodgers, O.P. and former President Sister Vivien Jennings, O.P. I must also say thank you to our former presidents Sister Patrice Werner O.P. and Dr. Nancy Blattner and our current president Dr. Matthew Whelan for their continued support to the men’s basketball program and for all the encouragement and inspirations throughout our time together.”

Corino marked another historic milestone on January 27, 2018 as he coached in his 1,000th game in a 47-40 win over the University of the Sciences. He is among the all-time victory leaders in Division II, ranking in the top-25 all-time in career wins and is among a group of 100 coaches across all three divisions with over 600 victories.

He guided the Cougars to two NCAA Division II Tournament appearances and led Caldwell to a victory in the opening round in 2021. In addition to his two NCAA Tournament trips, Corino’s coaching accomplishments are impressive: Five trips to the NAIA national tournament; seven CACC regular-season championships; six CACC Tournament titles and an NAIA District 31 crown.

Corino said, “I have always thought of myself as an educator and coach and, at its core, coaching isn’t about winning and losing. At the college level, coaching is about teaching, molding and developing teenagers into young men and having them become positive, productive members of society. I have worked extremely hard at that every day of my coaching career with that philosophy in mind.”

Corino’s contributions to the Caldwell community culminated with the naming of the basketball court after the longtime head coach in 2018. Mark A. Corino Court was officially dedicated on December 8, 2018 in a ceremony that featured speeches from then-Caldwell President Dr. Nancy Blattner and Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Commissioner Dan Mara, as well as special proclamations from then-Caldwell Mayor Ann Dassing and West Caldwell Mayor Joe Tempesta, Jr.

Corino added, “The experiences that I have had leading this program for 34 seasons have truly been an honor and I will always hold a special place in my heart for those who have coached with me and those who have played for me and allowed me to coach them.”

Corino himself has received several honors, including four CACC Coach of the Year awards. In 1992, Corino was named the Jersey 9 and District 31 Coach of the Year. He was selected by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association as its Coach of the Year in 1998. In 2016, Corino was inducted into the Caldwell Athletics Hall of Fame for his extensive contributions as the athletics director and head coach. In 2018 he received the prestigious Garden State Award from the Collegiate Athletic Administrators of New Jersey. This spring, Corino was inducted into the Basketball Reunion Hall of Honor and received the Distinguished Service Award from the Metropolitan Basketball Writers.

In his career, Corino has emphasized academics with his teams and it has paid off with multiple student-athletes honored on the CACC All-Academic Team. His program has seen 18 student-athletes recognized on the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court. His teams have been awarded the NABC Team Academic Excellence Award eight times over the last 10 years that the program has existed.

Corino Career Highlights

  • 606 career wins (all-time wins leader in the state of New Jersey).
  • Ranks in the top-25 in Division II in career victories.
  • Mark A. Corino Court dedicated on December 8, 2018.
  • Caldwell Athletics Hall of Fame inductee class of 2016.
  • Collegiate Athletic Administrators of New Jersey Garden State Award (2018).
  • Mets Basketball Writers Distinguished Service Award (2022).
  • Basketball Reunion Hall of Honor inductee (2022).
  • Four-time CACC Coach of the Year recipient.
  • Jersey 9 and District 31 Coach of the Year (1992).
  • Met Basketball Writers Division II Coach of the Year (1998).
  • Eight-time NABC Team Academic Excellence Award.
  • Coached in over 1,000 games in his career.
  • Two NCAA Division II Tournament appearances (opening round win in 2021).
  • Five trips to the NAIA national tournament.
  • Seven CACC regular-season championships.
  • Six CACC Tournament titles.
  • One NAIA District 31 crown.

Corino concluded, “I read once that tears are a gift from God and that tears show that your heart can be touched. I think everyone knows how my heart has been touched by Caldwell University basketball. As we look forward to the challenges ahead, as Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics, I will direct all of my energies to meet all of those challenges to improve and provide a continued positive experience for all of our student-athletes at our university.”

An announcement on the next head coach will be released soon.

What current and former Caldwell administrators are saying
Associate Athletic Director and Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Dean Johnson“Mark Corino means so much to college basketball in the state of New Jersey and the NCAA East Region. Having him step down as men’s basketball coach is a tremendous loss for the basketball community. I have been able to witness him first hand for the past 31 years and watch his commitment to the young men who have traveled through Caldwell University and his basketball program. He has impacted each of them in a very positive way.  They came to Caldwell as 18-year-old people and left as young mature men. He also preached “do the right things” and always did his best to instill this in everyone who he encountered. The experience he provided his student athletes and coaching staff was second to none.  We traveled all across the country, from Florida, California, Arizona, Alaska, Maine, and North Carolina to name a few spots and we always tried to compete against the best.  During our NAIA days, the experience of attending multiple NAIA national tournaments was unbelievable. The 2007 CACC championship, defeating University of the Sciences at Dominican will be a sweet memory as his dad was in the stands to see him win it all. Our two trips to the NCAA II tournament was a lifelong memory. The effort his team showed in the 2007 NCAA tournament against Bentley University (#2 team in the country) was incredible (3-point loss at Bentley). Mark Corino, Gerry Mathews and Pete Carrill, are legends in New Jersey basketball. It has been an unbelievable ride and I am so thankful I was able to be a small part of his journey. The book has finally been written and the final chapter has been read. I wish him and his family all the best.”

Former Caldwell University President Nancy Blattner: “During my time at Caldwell, no one exemplified the mission of our university more than Mark.  He served not only as the men’s head basketball coach, but as a role model and mentor to hundreds of young men both on and off the court.  I was blessed to work with Mark for 11 years, to experience the benefits of his leadership, and to witness the impact he had on our students’ lives.  Mark is a terrific coach as evidenced by his state record number of wins, but even more importantly, Mark is a terrific human being whom I am honored to have called my colleague and now my friend.”

Former Caldwell University President Sister Patrice Werner, O.P.:“My first reaction to Mark’s announcement was, “Oh, no … CU men’s basketball will never be the same!” But my second reaction was, “Oh yes, it will be … Mark’s spirit and legacy will certainly endure.” I was Academic Dean in 1988 when Mark arrived on campus to rescue our fledgling men’s basketball team. As Dean, I valued his recognition of his role as educator, mentor and role model for the young men under his charge; later, as President, I appreciated his support and his commitment to the wider institution as a very public representative of its values; as a friend, I treasure still the laughter and (yes) tears we have shared over these 34 years. I am delighted that Mark will retain his position as Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics. The program and a very large corner of the University will remain in good hands. Go, Cougars!

Former Caldwell University Administrator/Women’s Basketball Head Coach and current Women’s Basketball Head Coach at St. Francis College Brooklyn Linda Cimino, “When I think of the most impactful people in my career, Mark Corino is on the top of that list. I’m so thankful to have learned so much from him not only on the court, but in life. Working closely and traveling with the men’s team, I will always remember the positive way he treated & respected the women’s players and staff, setting a great example for his players to follow. His greatest legacy will not be the success and wins he had on the court, but the impact he had on the lives of the players he coached & the people he worked with. He made the CACC better and he made the game better! When you think of New Jersey basketball you think of Mark Corino.  Thanks for all your contributions to the game & for all you did for so many of us! Congrats on your retirement from coaching.”

Former Caldwell University Director of Athletic Media Relations and current Director of Sports Information at Macalester College (Minn.) Matt McLagen: “During my 11 years at Caldwell, watching all those games from the sidelines, I was able to see some great moments. From the run to the 2007 CACC championship and a 3-point loss to the No. 2 team in the country to last-second plays resulting in buzzer-beater wins, Mark had his teams ready to step up when it mattered. But when I think of those moments, I always remember the pure joy on Mark’s face when his teams won. He truly loves to coach.”

What current administrators and coaches from the CACC are saying
Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Commissioner Dan Mara: “”Mark Corino has enjoyed a tremendous coaching career filled with championships, milestone victories, and most importantly, high-character student-athletes. He leaves the sidelines as one of the most decorated coaches in CACC, NAIA and NCAA Division II history. His coaching career is coming to a close, but he still has a passion to serve in the role of Assistant Vice President for Athletics at Caldwell University and make a positive impact on the lives of student-athletes in all sports. I look forward to continuing to work with him in advancing the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.”

Thomas Jefferson University Assistant Vice President for Athletics/Head Women’s Basketball Coach Tom Shirley: “It is hard to say goodbye to Mark Corino as the head men’s basketball coach at Caldwell University. He has been a fixture with the program for many years and is the one of faces of CACC basketball history. Not only does he continue to run a very efficient athletic department, he also has more collegiate wins than any other college coach in the state of New Jersey. His ability to manage the Caldwell athletic department, serve on numerous CACC as well as NCAA committees and run the basketball program, deserves special recognition for a job more than well done. Your great work is recognized Mark. You will be missed and always remembered as a cornerstone of CACC basketball. Best wishes.”

Dominican University of New York Director of Athletics/Head Coach Men’s Basketball Joseph S. Clinton: “I want to congratulate my good friend, Mark Corino, on his retirement from coaching. A true legend who has had a very successful career and deserving of all the accolades he has received. I will miss seeing him across the sidelines, but I look forward to our continued friendship in the CACC.”

Sheila Wooten, Bloomfield College Dean of Students and Director of Athletics: “It is bittersweet to see Mark Corino retire after so many years of service and dedication. I am truly happy for him and his family as he gets an opportunity to rest and relax after forging such a great legacy. His leadership in collegiate athletics allowed for thousands of students to compete at a high level and forge lasting memories on the field, inside the classroom and also in their communities. He has been a pillar of strength over the years, proving himself as an advocate for student-athletes at Caldwell University as-well-as all schools in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. It has been a pleasure to serve on multiple conference committees with Mark, travel across the country for Athletic Director’s conferences and to compete in our very own backyard year after year at Bloomfield and Caldwell. I will miss him but I am also happy for him. It is hard to believe that it was 40 years ago that he coached men’s basketball for us here at Bloomfield. I wish him nothing but success and happiness in his well-deserved retirement.”

What CU men’s basketball alumni are saying
Two-time All-American and Caldwell Athletics Hall of Fame inductee class of 2010 Matthew Stuart (1989-1994), “It is a sad day for Caldwell University to see Coach Corino retire as the men’s basketball head coach. Coach Corino build a program at Caldwell that will stand the test of time. Coach, you have always led by example, teaching us determination and dedication; instilling in us teamwork and collaboration, and showing us how to set goals and to challenge ourselves to be better than we were yesterday. Over many years at Caldwell, these same principles have guided you to build a Men’s Basketball program that we are all proud to say we are a part of. Thank you Coach and Congratulations on your retirement and a wonderful career.”

Caldwell Athletics Hall of Fame inductee class of 2012 Brian Gaccione (1991-1995), “Coach Corino is like a father figure to many of us that played for him. I look back at the values and traditions that he instilled in us and now as a high school basketball coach for over 20 years, I have passed those values on to my players today. I saw his vision when I was a high school student and saw his honest approach to the game. I continue to maintain a close relationship with Coach Corino, Caldwell University and the men’s basketball program and often come back to see the Cougars play. He made an impact of my life and I admire his teachings. His stability and leadership are a testament to the program he had built from the ground up.”

All-American and Caldwell Athletics Hall of Fame inductee class of 2013 Tom Tonkovich (1996-2000), “Coach Corino represents a father figure to myself and my brothers (Brian 1994-98 and Paul 1999-2003) that all played for him. His accomplishments are extensive and he has impacted many young men over his 39 years and 34 years at Caldwell. His legacy goes past just the wins and losses on the court. Coach Corino has made a significant impact on the university, moving athletics from NAIA to NCAA. He will be missed by the men’s basketball program.”

CU men’s basketball alum Michael Balkovic (2011-2015), “First and foremost, I started college as a naive 18-year-old and coach Corino helped shaped me into the person I am today. I am currently a basketball coach and I so much of my coaching style can be attributed to coach Corino. Coach always said “the highs are never as high as they seem, and the lows are never as lows they seem”. That quote has stuck with me in both my athletic and personal life. Coach cared about us as people, not just basketball players. One of my favorite memories starts even before I played at Caldwell. Coach Corino came to a consolation game in the middle of nowhere Florida at 9pm to recruit me and it meant a lot and showed his dedication as a coach. I knew from the beginning that this coach would impact my life. I was honored to be a player during his 500th career win in 2014 at the University of The Sciences. I wish him the best in his retirement.”

CU men’s basketball alum Dawan Lighty (2012-2016), “Coach Corino was a great role model for me and all the players he coached throughout his career. He welcomed everyone with open arms and he was determined to get the best out of everyone that played for him. One of my favorite memories of Coach Corino was the night of his 500th career victory that I was excited to be part of. He was always focused on the game of basketball but that night the team dumped Gatorade on him after the game and he seemed to relax and the tears started to fall. I got to see a different side of him that night and I will always be grateful for his kindness.”

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