Reliving Rich Corsetto’s Wonderful Basketball Life

 

By Steve Sears

For Wayne’s Rich Corsetto, it’s been a rewarding sports life, and a gratifying life in general.

If you take a peek at both Corsetto’s individual high school and collegiate head basketball coaching records, either would make a wonderful career according to the numbers. His three high school stops garnered him a record of 302 wins and 115 losses, while his college tally is 455 wins and 227 losses, which adds up to a total of overall coaching record 748 wins and 320 losses in 38 years.

His winning percentage being what it is, there’s also the people he’s come in contact with most of all. “I was fortunate to have a lot of good people around me, a lot of players and assistant coaches,” Corsetto says. “When I played, I had good coaches who taught me the right things. I picked a lot of things up from my coaches, and when you’re involved with that, that stays with you.”

Corsetto started playing the sport he loves when he was seven years old.  His skills were cemented in a New Jersey basketball hotbed. “I’m originally from Paterson, New Jersey,” Corsetto says. “I was born and raised there, and got into basketball, and my parents were very supportive of me. I played in all the basketball leagues in Paterson, and what made me a better player to start off with was that I always played against older kids. I never played against kids my age. When I played, I grew up in the Stoney Road section of Paterson, and right over the hill you had the Grant Street projects. I went over the hill to play with kids that were good in basketball, that were better than me, older than me.”

Hoofing it to the courts of the neighboring community paid off. Corsetto went on to star for Saint Bonaventure of Paterson. He was team MVP for the 1962-63 and 1963-64 seasons, was a member of the New York Daily News First team in 1963-1964, and also made the First-Team All-City, county, and state teams for two consecutive years while scoring 1,555 points over three seasons. He attended both Hartford County Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi (he is a member of that school’s Athletic and Alumni Hall of Fames), where he scored almost 1,300 points in four seasons. He also played high school and college baseball, and was a draftee of the Philadelphia Phillies.

After his college playing days, Corsetto was drafted by the American Basketball Association’s Pittsburgh Condors, they of Connie Hawkins and John Brisker fame. “Three times a day,” he says of the practice schedule, “6:30, 1:00, and 6:00 at night. It was tough. You practiced against Brisker and Hawkins. It was a great experience.” Although he got cut, he had his educational background and started to teach. “I was able to give back,” he says.

Corsetto, 75, both loved playing and coaching the sport of basketball. “I can’t put one over the other,” he says. “When I played it, I loved playing it, and when I coached it, I loved coaching it. It was a mixture of both.” His first coaching job was from 1972 to 1983 as head man at Passaic County Technical and Vocational High School in Wayne, and his final stop (for now) was 2017-2022 at Bronx Community College in the Bronx, New York. Overall, he was on the sidelines for 17 seasons as a high school coach and 28 seasons as a college coach. Along the way there were many “Coach of the Year” honors among other recognitions he and his teams won.

Corsetto, who is still looking to coach elsewhere, has another goal: to be inducted into the Garden State’s NJSIAA Gallagher/Bollinger Hall of Fame. He loved being on the sidelines, leading his teams, as well as teaching his players how to lead as well. “Most of my kids always worked really hard, and I instilled that because that’s what I did. I see myself in a lot of my kids that I coached, and I’m still in contact with many of them today. That’s worth more than the 700 wins I have.”

 

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