Warren Caruso, one of NCAA DIII men’s basketball’s winningest coaches, the winningest coach in NAC history, and the second winningest coach in program history begins his 24th season at the helm of the Eagles basketball program and the 30th year on the staff in 2017-18.
Caruso enters the season with a 452-206 (.687) overall record and he has 268 wins since the Eagles joined the NAC - the most of any team in the league since the 2003-04 season, while developing a program worthy of the men’s basketball team’s rich history at Husson University, which headed into the 2017-18 campaign ranked third in the history of NCAA DIII Men’s Basketball with a .685 (1456-669-1) all-time record.
The 12th head coach in the Eagles’ 92-year history, Caruso was appointed as the program’s leader prior to the 1994-95 campaign as the successor to the legendary Bruce MacGregor, who coached the Green and Gold for 25 seasons while accumulating an impressive 540-185 (.745) record with six conference titles, five NAIA District 5 Championships and seven NAIA National Championship Tournament appearances.
Coach Caruso has been witness to much of the program’s success during his 23 years as a head coach, six as an assistant under MacGregor, and four as a player at Husson. During this time the Eagles have tallied a 689-292 (.702) record including a 342-73 (.824) mark versus conference opponents.
Among Caruso’s top accomplishments are when his 1999-00 team knocked off the 2000 NAIA National Champion Embry-Riddle University, 82-73 inside Newman Gym on December 9, 1999 and his most memorable accomplishment came during the 1996-97 season when Husson upset NCAA Div. I University of Maine, 73-72 at Alfond Arena on December 3, 1996. Everyone who was at the game will remember Husson Sports Hall of Famer Chris Funk’s 3-pointer going through the net with seven seconds left to give the Eagles the win.
He has also coached 14 All-Americans, five all-region, eight MMBCWA All-Rookie team, 30 MMBCWA All-State, 52 All-Conference, 22 Post Season All-Tournament team, 13 NAC All-Academic, three ECAC New England DIII All-Star Team, two Maine Senior All-Star Game, three NEBCA DIII Senior All-Star Game, and 20 NABC Honors Court selections, eight conference Players of the Year, one conference Rookie of the Year, two Defensive Players of the Year, one conference Scholar Athlete of the Year, one ECAC New England Player of the Year and six NAC Tournament Most Valuable Player honorees and 21 1,000 point scorers since taking over the helm of the Husson men’s basketball program.
Caruso has guided his teams to 13 20-win seasons, including three in a row from 1996-97 to 1998-99, and five in a row from 2012-13 to 2016-17, 12 conference championships, nine conference regular season titles and 23 winning campaigns during his tenure. Caruso’s teams have made 12 National Championship Tournament appearances, six in the NCAA and six in the NAIA. His teams have averaged 20 wins a year and he has coached 13 of the 32 20-win seasons in Husson’s history.
Since stepping onto campus in 1984-85, Caruso has seen the program from almost all angles: as a freshman he appeared in only 13 games but worked his way through the system and as a senior he was named captain and averaged 12.6 points per game. While finishing school in 1988-89, MacGregor invited him to join the staff, an opportunity he quickly accepted. Caruso would spend the next six years as Coach MacGregor’s assistant. During that time, Caruso’s responsibilities focused on recruiting, game preparation, and practices. The program made four trips to the NAIA National Championship Tournament, won three conference championships and one NAIA District 5 Championship, and including the program’s only National Championship Tournament win over Philadelphia Pharmacy, 82-68, while complying a 163-48 (.773) record in those six years. The experience and knowledge gained while working under MacGregor is extremely valuable today and helps make Coach Caruso’s teams successful. Coach Caruso’s love for the basketball program comes from his hard work as a player and as an assistant to help make the program successful. This hard work and love helped Caruso to be named head coach after the 1993-94 season.
Caruso earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Accounting from Husson in 1989 and a Master of Science in Business in 2003.
Caruso believes in education and leading up to the 2017-18 campaign, 35 of his 40 seniors have graduated. He also feels that knowledge is gained though life experiences. Over the years, Husson has traveled throughout the United States, each year taking a trip to compete against some of the top programs in the country. Over the last fifteen years the program has traveled to Florida (five times), California (five times), Idaho (four times), Canada (three times), Missouri (three times), Arizona, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and all over the Northeast region.
Caruso has been a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches since 1990, and Coach Caruso has served on the NABC National Congress since 2006. In 2008 he served on the ECAC Selection Committee for the ECAC New England Basketball Championship. Caruso is the past president of the Maine Basketball Coaches and Writers Association, an organization that serves college basketball in Maine. In the past, he served on two national committees with the NAIA, Men’s Basketball Rating Committee and Men’s Basketball All-American Committee. Coach is also the Co-director of Northeast Basketball Schools and Director of Husson Hoops Clinics, summer camps for younger players.
In 2015-16, Caruso guided the Eagles to the program’s 24th conference championship in program history earning them their 18th National Tournament appearance while going 21-7 for their 32nd conservative winning season. Four players collected post season accolades – Trevon Butler earned MMBCWA First Team, D3hoops.com All-Northeast Region Second Team, All-NAC First Team, NABC Division III All-Northeast District First Team honors and was named NAC Player of the Year and Tournament MVP. Raheem Anderson earned All-NAC First Team and All-MMBCWA First Team honors while being named to the All-NAC Tournament Team. Justin Martin earned All-MMBCWA Rookie Team honors. Eli Itkin earned All-NAC Sportsmanship team honors. Caruso was chosen as MMBCWA Coach of the Year for the third time in his career.
Butler and Anderson became 48th and 49th member of the 1000 career point club in 2016 and the first set of teammates to record their 1000 point in the same season since Matt MacKenzie and Brock Bradford in 2010. They were also the first teammates to score 550 or more points in a single-season in program history.
Last winter, Husson went 21-7 overall with a 16-2 record in NAC play en route to earning the program’s 13th regular season title and the top seed in the NAC Tournament for seventh time in program history. In NAC Tournament action, the Eagles successfully defended the 2016 crown with two tourney triumphs, including the championship victory over Thomas (Maine). With the automatic qualifier awarded to the NAC Champion, Husson advanced to NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in the last nine years, but saw the 2017 season come to a close with an opening-round loss at the hands of #3 Babson College - which won the national championship - on March 3rd.
Following the outstanding season, senior guard Raheem Anderson earned First Team All-Conference, First Team All-ECAC New England, NAC Tournament MVP, NAC Player of the Year, ECAC New England Player of the Year, D3Hoops.com Second Team All-Northeast Region, NABC First Team All-Northeast and D3Hoops.com All-American Honorable Mention accolades. Sophomore foward Justin Martin earned Second Team All-Conference, Honorable Mention All-ECAC New England and NAC Defensive Player of the Year honors, while senior guard Eli Itkin was selected to the conference All-Sportmanship Team.
Caruso was born and raised in Bangor, Maine. He enjoys being a part of the community where he grew up, went to school, works, and is raising a family with his wife Nicole. They started dating in 1983 and married on September 29, 1990. They have two children Nathan Richard Caruso born February 29, 1996 and Luke Ballard Caruso born March 23, 2001.