Two of the most successful Union County coaches in their sports gained milestone victories last month – one day apart.
On Dec. 17, Johnson ice hockey coach Michael Nudo earned his 100th win when his Crusaders defeated Dayton 11-1 in a Union County Ice Hockey League contest at Warinanco Ice Rink in Roselle.
On Dec. 18 at Union High School’s Louis J. Rettino Gymnasium in Union, Linden boys’ basketball coach Phil Colicchio earned his 300th win when his Tigers came back in the fourth quarter to edge Union County Conference-Watchung Division rival Union 77-75.
Nudo has guided the Johnson ice hockey team to a great deal of success, including – perhaps – the program’s best season ever in 2008-2009. That year, the Crusaders finished 20-2-3 and captured league regular season and playoff crowns.
Johnson began its 2008-2009 campaign by winning its first Cron Tournament game and then two wins later won the Cron Tournament for the first time.
The Crusaders then went unbeaten in the first year of the UCIHL, going 10-0-2 against the other six teams in the league to win the regular season title.
As a result, Johnson received the top seed and a first round bye for the first Union County Cup, with the Crusaders winning semifinal and final games to capture the very first trophy.
Colicchio, at the helm of Linden since the 1997-1998 season after spending one year as the head coach at Barringer in 1996-1997, has guided Linden to its only three state championships, with the Tigers capturing Group 4 in 2000, 2006 and 2007.
Colicchio, an Elizabeth graduate and also a very successful JV coach at his high school alma mater, has also led Linden to its last two Union County Tournament titles, won in 2001 and 2007 – both over favored defending champion St. Patrick teams.