Heading Back Home: Phil Colicchio Returns to Hometown Elizabeth HS, Leaves Linden with Remarkable Legacy

Phil Colicchio spent the past 21 seasons as the head boys basketball coach at Linden HS before being named to the same position at Elizabeth HS on Thursday, June 21, 2018. Credits: Daniel Collins

LINDEN/ELIZABETH, NJ-  Phil Colicchio turned Linden into a powerhouse program throughout his tenure at the helm of the varsity basketball team in his 21 seasons as head coach at the school located on 121 West St. Georges Avenue, competing with the best programs in the state of New Jersey.

That run officially came to an end on Thursday evening. Colicchio was approved as the new head boys basketball coach at Elizabeth High School at a Board of Education meeting last Thursday night in Elizabeth.

Colicchio, a 1984 Elizabeth High School graduate, will be working for athletic director Ben Candelino, the man who coached him in high school and the man who helped him get his coaching career started.

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With a new chapter in his coaching career ready to go, Colicchio turns toward a challenge that lays ahead, to turn Elizabeth around into a winning program. The Minutemen finished last season with a 7-17 record.

While at the helm of the Tigers, Colicchio and Linden won back-to-back Group 4 championships in 2016 and 2017, with Colicchio winning his 400th career game in the 2016 win over Atlantic City at Rutgers University on Sunday, March 13, 2016.

Last season, Linden finished with a 22-7 record and returned to the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 Sectional Final, but lost to Newark East Side HS 57-52 on March 5.

Throughout his tenure in Linden, the accolades achieved with him at the helm was massive, including 450 wins throughout his tenure as head coach.

According to an article on Union News Daily, under Colicchio, Linden was transformed into a powerhouse program achieving a lot of success over the years.

This includes nine sectional championships (2000, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), six group championships (2000, 2006, 2007, 2014, 2016, 2017), three county championships (2001, 2007, 2015) and three appearances in the Tournament of Champions (2006, 2016, 2017), with two appearances in the final in 2006 and 2016.

The county championship wins come in a county stacked with schools which feature Roselle Catholic, The Patrick School, St. Mary of the Assumption and Union Catholic.

On Tuesday, January 7, 2014, Linden honored Colicchio, by naming their basketball gym, “Coach Colicchio Court.” is Elizabeth’s free daily news source. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook at and Twitter @TAPElizabeth. 

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