Kevin Callahan (@CP_KCallahan)
Stephanie Carideo starred as a high school player in South Jersey and on the college level in Philadelphia before becoming a successful local high school and college head coach, as well as a high-profiled Division I and II assistant in Philly, so it's understandable why she knows enough of the Delaware Valley basketball community to fill the Palestra.
Stephanie Carideo (above, at Penn) had standout playing and coaching careers in the Philly area. (Photo courtesy Penn Athletics)
And, they are all stood in unison and clapped for her like a buzzer beater at the Palestra when it was announced late last Thursday afternoon that she was the new head women's basketball coach at Haverford College.
“It's funny because I've known for a little bit now, but it's now official,” Carideo said last Thursday night. “It seems more real. And I actually have my first day tomorrow (Friday). So, then, it'll feel even more real.
“But, yeah, it's been a whirlwind for sure, getting a million texts,” added Carideo, who spent the previous two seasons as an assistant women's basketball coach at the University of Pennsylvania. “In fact, I just had back to school night (for her two sons, Christopher Jr. and Carson), and by the time I got out, I can't even tell you the amount of texts, Instagram, Twitter, phone calls … I mean, it's amazing that such great people in my life are super happy.”
One of those great people is her husband, Chris Carideo, who is the head men's basketball coach at Widener University. They are certainly one of the few husband-wife college basketball head coaching combinations in the country.
“I know one other couple personally and they are Division II,” Stephanie Carideo said about Dan Burke at Wilmington University and Bethann Burke at Goldey-Beacom, both in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.
“Aside from those two. I really don't know anybody,” said the former star player at Philadelphia University, now Jefferson. Years ago, both Haverford and Widener were members of the Middle Atlantic Conference. However, the Fords now compete in the Centennial while the Pride is still in the MAC.
Could there be a Haverford vs. Widener men's-women's twin bill?
“When I got the job, Chris was like, ‘we need a doubleheader’ and was like, ‘we do,’” concurred Carideo.
Carideo, who earned her bachelor's degree in psychology in 2011 and master's degree in business administration in 2012 from Philadelphia University, was All-Conference as a senior and finished her collegiate career with 1,078 points, 405 rebounds, 400 assists, and 223 steals.
Stephanie Carideo (above on the left, at Penn) is returning to a head coaching position after serving as an assistant at Penn. (Photo courtesy Penn Athletics)
Prior to her two seasons at Penn, Carideo was an assistant coach for the men's program at her alma mater, but under Herb Magee. She was one of only two female coaches for a men's program throughout all levels of NCAA basketball. Under the Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer, Carideo helped the Rams to the Central Athletic Collegiate Conference regular season championship in 2018-19.
Haverford Interim Director of Athletics Michael Vienna conducted an extensive search, which included four rounds of interviews for Carideo.
“We are thrilled to welcome Stephanie to Haverford College as our head women's basketball coach,” Vienna said. “She stood out after an extremely competitive national search with a strong commitment to the Division III student-athlete experience at an academically rigorous institution. Coach Carideo clearly demonstrated that she is prepared to support our student-athletes on and off the court as they strive for excellence. We are confident she will lead a women's basketball program that will compete for Centennial Conference championships while reflecting the values of Haverford College.”
At Penn, Carideo helped the Quakers finish 20-7 overall while earning the second seed in the Ivy League Tournament in 2019-20.
Carideo thanked Penn coach Mike McLaughlin as well as the entire staff and players for “preparing me for this next chapter in my life.”
Carideo, a member of the Lower Cape May High School Athletic Hall of Fame, began her collegiate coaching career as head coach of the women's team at Penn State Abington for two seasons. She was named the NEAC Coach of the Year in 2015 after her Nittany Lions set a program record with a 22-5 record and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.
She began coaching at John. W. Hallahan Catholic Girls' High School in Philadelphia.
“I did a reverse because I was a head coach first,” Carideo said. “I was a head coach at Hallahan and then I was at Penn State Abington. Then I took a few years off to be a mother and raised our little boys.”
And her sparkling coaching resume continues to be raised.