About the Coaches
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Jerry Rickrode, Head Coach | e-mail
Jerry Rickrode returns for his 17th season at the helm of the program. Rickrode has a career record of 303 wins and 119 losses and his mark of .718 is among the best all-time in NCAA Division III history for coaches with at least five years experience. He also holds the Division III record for being the fastest coach to reach the 200-win plateau, achieving the feat in his first 249 games.
During the 2000-01 season, Rickrode led Wilkes to a 23-3 record, the Freedom Conference championship, and the school's sixth berth in the NCAA Tournament in seven years. During the 1997-98 campaign the Colonels posted a 26-5 overall record, won the MAC title, and advanced to the Division III Final Four for the first time in school history. Both the 1995-96 team, which fashioned a 28-2 record, and the 1994-95 teams advanced to the Division III Elite Eight. During Rickrode’s tenure the Colonels have been ranked number-one in Division III twice.
Under the guidance of Rickrode the Colonels have posted 16 straight winning seasons, including seven campaigns in which they have registered at least 20 wins. They have also copped six of the last 13 Freedom championships.
Rickrode was honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches as their Mid-Atlantic Regional Coach of the Year after the 2000-01, 1998-99, 1997-98 and 1995-96 seasons. Previously, he has also been named the Freedom coach of the year on three occasions, including 2000-01.
Rickrode came to Wilkes after spending four years as a full-time assistant coach at Ithaca College, where he was in charge of coordinating recruiting and scouting, along with assisting at practices and floor coach during games. In addition, Rickrode directed the pre-season and in-season strength and conditioning programs and was a full-time instructor in the Health and Human Performance Department.
Prior to Ithaca, Rickrode was an assistant at Utica College in 1987, a graduate assistant at Ithaca in 1986, and head freshman coach at Skidmore College in 1985.
Rickrode is a graduate of Skidmore College with a degree in Biology and Physical Education and from Ithaca College with a Master's Degree in Physical Education.
At Skidmore, Rickrode earned NAIA Basketball Academic All-American recognition. He was also named the school's senior athlete of the year in 1985 after establishing Skidmore standards for points and assists in a season and for career field goal percentage.
Rickrode, his wife Kathy, daughter Jordyn, and son Christian, reside in Mountaintop.
Neal Biscaldi, Assistant Coach
Neal is entering his second season on the Colonels sidelines. The combination of basketball experience and a terrific basketball mind makes him a great fit with the Wilkes staff. Biscaldi’s coaching responsibilities include recruiting, preparing the team for opponents, on-court coaching duties, scouting, travel planning and monitoring of student-athletes’ academic progress. He was instrumental in bringing in a highly-recruited freshman class this season.
Success has followed Biscaldi at all levels of collegiate basketball. He has served on the coaching staffs of five NCAA Tournament teams throughout his career.
His wealth of basketball experience makes him no stranger to successful college basketball. Most recently, Biscaldi served as an assistant coach at St. Francis College, NY, where he helped lead them to a conference best record over a four year period. Prior to that, Biscaldi, served as an assistant coach at Bloomfield College and helped guide them to their first conference tournament as an NCAA Division II program. He was an assistant at Fairleigh Dickinson University when the Knights beat Long Island University in the Noreast Conference Tournament to earn a berth in the 1998 NCAA Division I Tournament, where they played the University of Connecticut to an 11-point loss. Biscaldi also served as an assistant at Gettysburg College, where he helped lead them to there first NCAA Division III Tournament. He began his coaching career at Rowan University, where they went to the Sweet 16 and two Final Fours, and were ranked number-one in Division III on three occasions.
Biscaldi has coached a countless number of All-Conference and All-American players, including several who have played or are still playing in various places overseas.
John Soboleski, Assistant Coach
Former King’s College standout John Soboleski joins the Wilkes men’s basketball staff for his first season with the squad.
Soboleski will be involved in all facets of the Colonel basketball program with an emphasis in working with the post players. “I am going to feel very comfortable having John working side by side with me in all aspects of the program,” Rickrode said. “I feel he has a very bright future in this profession.”
Soboleski was a first-team all-Freedom Conference performer last year, averaging a team-high 16.1 points, 7.8 rebounds while hitting 61.6 percent from the field. Not only was he the team’s best shooter, he led the team in blocks with 53.
The Hanover native led the Freedom Conference in scoring in league games with 18.6 as well as field goal percentage, hitting 67.5 percent from the field and blocks per game with 2.08.
"Obviously John was an outstanding player in our conference, but more importantly I was always overly impressed with his demeanor and attitude. He is the kind of young man that demands great respect and our players will respond well to him," Rickrode said.