Warren Caruso wasn’t sure he was fully prepared to be a head coach when Bruce MacGregor took a sabbatical from his leadership of the Husson University men’s basketball program for the 1994-95 season.
Caruso’s sudden ascension from the assistant coaching ranks went well, as the team won the Maine Athletic Conference title championship and qualified for the NAIA tournament en route to a 23-9 record.
When MacGregor retired from the post the following June, Caruso became the team’s permanent coach and not only has remained a fixture on the Bangor campus for the past quarter-century, but he is a prominent face on the Maine small-college basketball scene.
“I didn’t know I was ready, but I think [MacGregor] knew and wanted to give me an opportunity to be a head coach and run the program,” said Caruso, who earned his 500th coaching victory last Saturday when No. 3 Husson defeated No. 6 Northern Vermont-Johnson 70-61 in a North Atlantic Conference quarterfinal at Newman Gymnasium.
“Looking back at it now that sabbatical year was a test. I didn’t know I was ready at 28 years old, but it fell into place.”
Caruso has earned nine coach of the year honors during his 26-year tenure as Husson’s head coach. His teams have won 14 regular-season titles and 13 conference championships with 13 national tournament appearances.
“We work really hard at it,” he said. “I think every coach does, but we’ve worked really hard and had the right student-athletes and some very good assistant coaches who have made a difference in our program.
“I’ve also been blessed that through the years for the most part we’ve had an administration that believes in having a successful athletic program and basketball being a big part of it.”
Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...
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