OFFICIAL: Howie Dickenman Announces Retirement as Central Connecticut Men’s Basketball Coach

Thanks to great sources who got out in front of this one on Wednesday (HOT RUMOR: Dickenman to Retire).  It has now been made official, Central Connecticut head coach Howie Dickenman has announced his retirement effective at the end of the current season.

“I have a lot of people to thank but I’m going to do that individually,” said Dickenman following Thursday night’s 76-72 win over Mount St. Mary’s. “I’ve been blessed for 20 years to coach at my alma mater.  I’m proud of a lot of things here.”

“Last couple of years have been challenging for us, as the record would say, but I have a lot of good things that I know are going to happen here.  It might take another year or two but what you saw tonight was a team that had poise, some toughness and they willed it to win, and that’s what we did.”

“There are few people who have had as dramatic an impact on college basketball in the state of Connecticut as Howie Dickenman,” said Central Connecticut Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann. “It is difficult to summarize succinctly what Coach Dickenman has meant to CCSU, but suffice to say that as an alumnus, Hall of Famer and 20 year head coach, he is forever part of the fabric of the institution and of Blue Devil Athletics. It has been an honor to work with him during my six year tenure at Central.  I admire his work ethic, his sense of honor, his grit, his passion for the game and for people. He leaves a great legacy that will stand the test of time.”

“Coach Dickenman is a man of integrity and an icon of college basketball at Central, in Connecticut, and nationally,” said Dr. Jack Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University. “I have been honored to work with him during my entire 11 years at CCSU. His word is his bond and I will look forward in the future to having him as a personal friend. “

Dickenman is the only coach in CCSU history to lead the program to the NCAA Division I Tournament having guided the Blue Devils to three Northeast Conference Tournament Championships. He ranks second on the school’s all-time wins list, behind only his former head coach Bill Detrick. In 20 seasons at his alma mater, he has compiled 282 wins overall and ranks second all-time among NEC coaches with 187 regular-season wins.  Dickenman currently has the second-longest tenure as a head coach at their alma mater, behind only Jim Boeheim’s 39 years at Syracuse.

A four-time Jim Phelan Coach of the Year, Dickenman’s squads produced five NEC Players of the Year, three NEC Defensive Players of the Year and a pair of NEC Rookies of the Year.  Over 20 of his players earned all-conference honors and 13 members of CCSU’s 1,000 point club played under him, including Ron Robinson who was just the fifth player in school history to record 1,000 career points and rebounds. In 2002, Corsley Edwards became the first Blue Devil to be selected in the NBA Draft when he was picked by the Sacramento Kings in the second round.

Dickenman was named the New England Division I Coach of the Year and District One Coach of the Year after leading CCSU to its first NEC title and NCAA Division I Tournament in 1999-2000. He was also one of five finalists that season for the Clair Bee Award for contributions to college basketball along with Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, Lute Olsen of Arizona and Mike Montgomery of Stanford.

Dickenman has mentored had several former CCSU assistant coaches including four of whom are currently head coaches; Chris Casey (Niagara), Anthony Latina (Sacred Heart), Steve Hayn (US Merchant Marine Academy), and Steve Pikiell (Stony Brook). No fewer than 10 former assistants are currently coaching at other NCAA schools including Lamar Barrett (Old Dominion), Steve Curren (St. Bonaventure), Phil Martelli, Jr. (Delaware), Kevin Papacs (Sacred Heart), Patrick Sellers (DePaul) and Adrian Walters (Auburn – women’s basketball).

Dickenman coached the 2001-02 Blue Devils squad to a school-record 27-5 mark. Central went 19-1 in conference play, recording 19 consecutive wins and entered the NCAA Tournament with the nation’s longest winning streak at 19 games overall.

One of the most recognizable individuals in the Connecticut sports world, Dickenman is a member of seven separate Halls of Fame, including the CCSU Alumni Athletics Hall of Fame into which he was inducted in 1980. He was inducted as a member of the first-ever class to enter the New England Basketball Hall of Fame on October 4, 2002.  Dickenman, who was inducted as one of the top Division II players in New England history, was joined by names like Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, Calvin Murphy, Patrick Ewing and Julius Erving.  He is also a member of the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame, the Cheshire Academy Hall of Fame, the East Hartford Explorers Tap-Off Club Hall of Fame and the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Connecticut High School Coaches Hall of Fame and along with his late father, Howard B. Dickenman, Sr., they are the only father-son combination in the Hall.

Among Dickenman’s numerous off-court accomplishments is being a founding father of Interval House, Connecticut’s largest agency working toward ending domestic violence. He, along with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, is one of only two individuals to be honored by The Interval House in its history at its Breakfast of Champions.

Dickenman served on the Regional Advisory Committee for the National Association of Basketball Coaches and as a member of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules committee.

He has been recognized throughout the state for his work with various organizations and charities and has been honored with awards such as the Gold Key by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance in 1996 and being named the Sportsperson of the Year in Norwich in 1999.  He has also been awarded the NABC Literacy Champion Award in 2009. He has served as honorary chairman of the Tolland Fund Golf Tournament to benefit people with special needs and for the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Blood Drive and served as the honorary co-chairman of the Connecticut Alzheimer’s Association fundraising golf tournament. He was a member of the Coaches vs. Cancer Team that helped raise funds for the American Cancer Society. He received the St. Francis Medal for his strong dedication to Christian values and outstanding athletic achievement along with the Native Son Award at the Norwich Rose Arts Festival. He has also been a member of the Board of Directors for the Nutmeg Games and served as the Grand Marshall of the games.

Dickenman graduated from CCSU in 1970 and earned a master’s of science degree in elementary education from the school in 1974. As a player, Dickenman earned First Team All-America honors from the NABC while playing under head coach Bill Detrick. He became the first player in school history to reach 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds during his career and is the only Blue Devil to do so in three seasons. As a two-time captain he led the Blue Devils to a 50-26 mark in three seasons.

Prior to being named head coach at Central, Dickenman spent 14 seasons at the University of Connecticut, including 10 years as the top assistant to coach Jim Calhoun. During his time at UConn, Dickenman helped the Huskies post a 20-8 postseason record, including the 1987-88 National Invitation Tournament title and a run of five trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 in seven years. He was responsible for the recruitment of several future NBA players during his tenure, including current UConn coach, Kevin Ollie.

Dickenman began his coaching career as an assistant at New Britain High School before moving on to become head coach at Greater Hartford Community College for three seasons. He returned to Central Connecticut as an assistant coach before going to Canisius College for five seasons and then onto UConn.

Photo Courtesy CCSU Athletics
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