Growing up, Mitch Raridon and his father, Todd, did what fathers and sons do; they bonded over casual golf outings, played catch, and threw the football around in the yard.
Now, heading into the 2014-2015 men’s basketball season, they are strengthening their bond as members of the Cardinal coaching staff.
Todd Raridon, head men’s basketball coach, always knew that coaching was the path he wanted to take. “Even when I was in elementary school, I knew it was what I wanted to do,” said Raridon, “and I’ve been fortunate ever since to live out that dream.”
Once the head coach for Nebraska Wesleyan University, Raridon brings 15 successful years of experience to North Central College.
Since he’s been here, he has helped the Cardinals secure two College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) Championships and has made three trips to the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championships.
Raridon was also named the Midwest Region Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and was a repeat winner of the CCIW Coach of the Year accolades in 2012.
Success, it seems, is a family affair. Raridon’s oldest of three sons, Mitch, has worked his way up the ranks from player to coach, and landed the position as the assistant men’s coach prior to the 2014-2015 season.
A four-year athlete and two-year starter for the men’s basketball team, Mitch finished his career with 561 points and 166 assists. He also ranks 10th in school history for three-point shots, sinking 84 from the line.
Once his father took the job at North Central, Raridon knew where he would spend the next four years and whom he would play for.
“I knew I wanted to come and play for him at North Central,” said Mitch. “I visited a few times, fell in love with the school, and didn’t see anywhere else I wanted to go.”
After his student-athlete career ended, it seemed only natural to follow in his father’s footsteps (figuratively and literally) and become a part of the coaching staff at North Central College.
“It’s all I’ve wanted to do,” Mitch added. “I’ve been around college basketball my whole life. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t be in this profession.”
Not many athletes get the opportunity to head the program they once played for, and even fewer get to do so alongside their father.
“To have family around you on a day-to-day interaction is something you have to cherish,” said the assistant coach. “Not everyone gets that opportunity.”
“It’s nice to continue coaching men you played with and it’s nice to recruit new kids to continue the winning the tradition [my father]built and be a part of that,” Mitch added.
The head coach considers himself lucky to have his son on the staff and even more so to have someone who has played the game with a team close to his heart.
“I’m excited to have him on a full time basis,” said Raridon. “He understands the game, he understands the recruitment, and he understands the positives and negatives of Division III.”
“He’s been a great addition to our program and staff,” he added.
This is not the first time the Raridon family has been together on the court. Middle son Derek was a member of the Cardinal’s men’s hoops from 2009 to 20013, coached by his older brother and father.
“When you have family involved, it’s even more special,” said Raridon. “I had two of my sons around on a daily basis in practice. From a father’s standpoint, that’s very special.”
The team starts practices on Oct. 19 with the first date of competition set for Nov. 21.