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EPS AD Ben Candelino Inducted to NJSCA Hall of Fame

Ben Candelino

Elizabeth, N.J., January 12, 2021 – Elizabeth Public Schools athletic director Ben Candelino was one of 33 coaches inducted to the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association (NJSCA) Coaches Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020 in a virtual ceremony held on January 10.

Qualifying candidates for the NJSCA Hall of Fame who are retired from coaching must have been a head varsity coach for a minimum of 10 calendar years in New Jersey or must have made significant contributions to the NJSCA or the NJSIAA while meeting the requirements of excellence, ethics, and contributions to the coaching profession.

Candelino began teaching and coaching career at St. Mary’s High School in Elizabeth in 1975, where he eventually became the boys head basketball and baseball coach. He amassed 109 wins in basketball and his baseball team won the 1983 Parochial B State Baseball Championship.

His greatest success came as head coach of Elizabeth High School’s varsity boys basketball team. Candelino finished with 348 wins and only 46 losses. His teams won 12 Watchung Conference Championships; nine Union County Tournament Championships; nine Group 4, Section 2 State Championships; five Group 4 State Championships; and the 1990 Tournament of Champions over former perennial national power St. Anthony’s of Jersey City, a feat that has only been accomplished by three other New Jersey public schools. The 1985 and 1990 EHS teams under Candelino’s guidance were both ranked No. 1 in the state by The Star-Ledger.

He also worked as an Assistant Coach at Montclair State University and an advanced scout for the New Jersey Nets.

Candelino was recognized as Union County Coach of the Year six times, as well as Eastman Kodak and Daily News Coach of the Year in 1990, and is a proud member of the Elizabeth Athletic Hall of Fame and the Union County Baseball Hall of Fame.

His resume also includes a state championship in baseball, basketball and football, a rare accomplishment in coaching.

“I would like to congratulate Mr. Candelino for receiving this much deserved honor,” said Elizabeth Board of Education President Jerry Jacobs. “Basketball is held near and dear to so many in the Elizabeth community and it is largely due to our rich and storied program whose foundation was built by Coach Candelino and his many great players and assistant coaches. We are proud of him and all that he has given to the children of Elizabeth who were under his tutelage in all the sports he coached, instilling the important values of hard work, tenacity, and resiliency that he undoubtedly developed growing up here in Elizabeth.”

Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer congratulated Candelino for his great career as a coach that has resulted in the NJSCA Hall of Fame induction, while recognizing one of the greatest contributions that can be made by a coach of scholastic athletes.

“For all the wins that his teams earned in competition, his greatest victories may have come in the countless number of scholar athletes whose lives he influenced and helped send to college to further their education while playing at the Division I, II and III levels.” said Hugelmeyer. “I know that is something of which he is very proud and considers it among his greatest accomplishment as a coach. I also have no doubt that many of his former players would say the guidance, support, and love he provided helped give them the confidence and skills to succeed.”