February 24, 2005
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Nicholas J. Luchko and I am a proud alumnus of the
undergraduate class of 2001 and graduate class of 2003. I was the
SGA president during the 2000-01 school year and involved in a
number of leadership positions throughout my four years. I also
never played in one athletic event, but was part of the Athletic
department in other venues. I understand that a college is a
business and that you have to do what you have to do. However, there
are times when a decision is made that will affect a number of
people on many levels. I am writing this letter because I would like
to express my views about the dismissal of John Dzik.
I have known John since 1997. When I was a first year student,
there were times my friends and I from Xavier Hall would be playing
ball in Founders Hall gym and Coach Dzik (an honorary alumnus) would
watch us, talk to us but most importantly mentored us. Not many
people except maybe Dr.Primiano, John DiMucci or Dr.Young would do
that. It meant even more to us, because it was after games and Dzik
showed the commitment he had for not only his team but regular
students like me.
John's enthusiasm with his players and the respect that he had
for them was immeasurable. The “rap” that some of them received from
other members of the Cabrini community were unnecessary and untrue
because Dzik wouldn’t let it get to that point. I remember as an RA
and as SGA President he would asked me about his players and made
sure to let him know if they needed support.
John’s efforts have helped Cabrini own 13 out of a possible 23
President Cups in the Pennsylvania College Athletic League. Teams
have won 43 championships. I have been informed by a number of
people when I used to do the music at sporting events that he was
the person who was influential in the conception of the PAC. In my
research for this letter, it’s interesting to read the mission
statement of the PAC, which John created, supported and believed in
“The Conference is based upon NCAA Division III
philosophies and will strive to be recognized in this context.
The concept of the true student-athlete is the basic
precept of this association. The members believe the
student who participates in intercollegiate athletics at our
institutions is playing for the true love of sport. We
further believe the playing field is an integral aspect of the
total educational experience imparted by each
institution. Our philosophy is based upon our ability to
create an opportunity for all constituencies of our college
community to be participatory in our athletics programs.”
I highlighted those quotes because if the college’s decision to
release Coach Dzik is solely on the college view to “the changing
environment of NCAA Division III athletics, emphasizing that
rigorous academic programs and participation in sports contributes
significantly to the student's overall collegiate experience” then
every coach at Cabrini should be released and we should not be in
the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference.
During Midnight Madness (which he totally made possible and
supported), Dzik would encourage students to get involved and
support all of the athletic teams, not just the basketball teams. He
is an icon that I respect not only as a coach, but as a person.
In my research of this letter, I have found a number of quotes in
The Loquitur that many people have said about John or John’s own
words about his position and Cabrini College. I would like to
present these quotes now:
“This man is one hell of a guy," Dr. Antoinette
Iadarola, president of Cabrini College, said. She introduced Dzik
before listing his coaching accomplishments.
According to Iadarola, Dzik’s accomplishments in
coaching include presiding over the all-time winningest program in
NCAA Division III history, obtaining 13 conference championships
in 20 seasons, receiving recognition for Coach of the Year five
times, and of capturing 19 winning seasons in 20 years. "I
actually had goose bumps when I read these," Iadarola stated about
Dzik’s successful career.
Loquitur Edition – 2/1/01 Dzik honored for
400th Win by Amy Gassen
“I think John should be recognized for his hard
work and years of contribution for being both the athletic
director and the head basketball coach. He has put Cabrini on the
map, and racked up 454 wins as the basketball coach. Not many
people have accomplished what he has done in his career to this
point," Leslie Danehy said.
Loquitur Edition – 9/4/03 Dzik and Danehy
receive promotions by Heather DiLalla
"Dzik enjoys coaching at a division III school
because of the efforts seen in his athletes. At a DIII school, the
players are referred to as student-athletes, not the other way
around. Therefore, they are expected to do every inch of their
school work as well as put 100 percent into their team.
"In my opinion, the athletes at Cabrini put more
time and work in than the regular students," Dzik said. Dzik
continued to say that the idea of a Jockocracy on campus was
laughable and ridiculous.
Dzik's biggest wish is for students to start
coming out and supporting their school's teams. "These are your
classmates who represent your school, come out and support your
friends," Dzik said.
Loquitur Edition – 11/20/03 – Coach
Credits Division III athletes by John Holloway
"His first head coaching position came in 1980
when he was hired by Cabrini College. He's been here ever since.
"My first team was in 1980," Dzik said. "I was hired because
[Cabrini College] said they wanted to bring somebody here who
could build them a winning athletic program and a winning
basketball program and attract more men to the college."
Since taking the position 24 years ago, he has
more than exceeded expectations. Since 1980, he has amassed the
all-time winningest Division III basketball program record in
terms of winning percentage. Dzik has an overall record of
454-192. He also coached Cabrini to 15 Conference Championships,
14 20-win seasons and 11 post-season Tournament bids. Just
recently in 2002, John Dzik took Cabrini to the NCAA Division III
When asked about retiring any time in the near
future, Dzik said, "I don't have any plans right now. I take
things a day at a time."
"It's like Joe Paterno. They're always asking him
when he's going to retire," the coach said. "I'm a little too
young to retire. I'm not as old as Joe Paterno. Joe's, I think,
77? Well, I won't be 77 years-old for another 23 years. So maybe
I'll coach another 23 years like Joe Paterno. That would be
something, wouldn't it?"
Off the court, John Dzik has accomplished much as
well. He is responsible heading the creation of the Pennsylvania
Athletic Conference. "Pennsylvania Athletic Conference was kind of
a dream of mine," he said. "I spent about two years trying to
organize small colleges in the area to come together and form a
conference. The original idea was a Catholic college conference
but when we got people around a table, we didn't have enough to
form a conference. So, it adjusted to the PAC, which included
schools that did not have a Catholic heritage."
Since its inception, Dzik has been very pleased
with its results. "It's turned out to be everything that I had
envisioned and even more" he said. "I'm very proud of it. I'm very
pleased that it has turned out to be such an outstanding league."
He is also responsible for making the athletic
program at Cabrini what it is today. It can be contributed to the
efforts of John Dzik, as well as the athletic department and
Cabrini College itself that the athletics program has greatly
grown in size and stature among the NCAA and PAC throughout the
years. Dzik said, "I would like to think that when people look
back on the contribution that I made here, that people would think
that, 'Yes, John Dzik did a good job in helping to build the
athletic program here.'"
In 2003, Dzik was promoted to the position of
Special Assistant to the President for Athletic Advancement. When
asked about what the position entails, Dzik said, "It's a
friend-raising and fund-raising capacity where we look to make
sure people are aware of our athletic program, participatory in it
in terms of being aware of what our needs are."
"I look as my main goal to make a reconnection
between our athletic alums, our alums in general and our athletic
program at the college. We haven't had any real initiatives since
this position has been created or before this position that would
reach out to that group as it would relate to athletics. So this
position has the opportunity to reach out to that constituency and
get them involved in helping the athletic program continue to
prosper and grow," he said.
When asked about how his experience at Cabrini
College has been over the last twenty years, Dzik said, "I
wouldn't trade it for anything."
Loquitur Edition – 12/3/04 Dzik,
Cornerstone of Athletics by Paul Nasella
My grandfather, Joseph Hagan, who is 80 years old used to be an
umpire with Coach and he would talk about this man and what he did
for the kids of Delaware County. Coach Dzik even remembered my
grandfather the year I graduated in 2001 and that was a good 20 – 30
I and the rest of my fellow alumni are speaking out because this
is what Dzik and other members of Cabrini installed in us to do.
Speak out for what we believed in and dedicate our lives to it.
Some questions that I have pondered over the last couple of weeks
have been the following: Has the college lost sight of its strong
alumni due to the efforts of Coach Dzik? Has the college taken any
statistics of students who choose Cabrini because of the efforts and
dedication of the athletic staff? What does the PAC think about this
decision? Has the college begun efforts to have a meeting with the
SGA about this decision? Has the college looked at possible ways of
honoring Coach Dzik for his efforts of 25 years? Has the college
thought about the national news coverage, because of our strong
alumni, that would be made next year? What kind of recruiting would
that bring for Cabrini?
Think about this scenario. I am a student-athlete in Texas and I
am watching Sports Center and John Dzik appears on the screen and he
just won his 500th game for Cabrini. I just got a letter from
Cabrini's admissions office and I say to myself, “A Division III
coach just won his 500 game and he has been there for 25 years? I am
going there!” Has the college not thought of the great press it
Look at what the college has right here on this website. All
these people willing to speak out about this man! Had the college
even thought about sending something to its strong alumni about
Coach Dzik 500 win and make it a celebration! I would have come back
for that and so would others. We could have had it during Alumni or
Family Weekend where it would be a celebration of John’s
accomplishments over the years. How awesome would that have been for
everyone involved! I know Mother Ursula would have been so proud and
smiling down on all of us, the Cabrini Family!
Identity defines who you are. When I say I went to Cabrini, all
people talk about now is Dzik. It’s not positive things about
Cabrini, its negative. Is that what I want? No! I have been through
this time at Cabrini when so much has happened. The Marquis Hotel
deal of 98’, the “magical loss” of the entire student development
staff of 99’, the student union meeting of 2000, and most recently
the Identity Theft crisis of 2001 – 2004, which effect over 500
alumni, students and prospective students. What has occurred with
Coach Dzik deals with the very fabric of what makes Cabrini College
what it is today. I am at a loss of words for how I feel right now.
I am not saying that we are all perfect and yes, Dzik has made
mistakes no doubt in the past. However his record with recruiting
and graduation rate speaks for itself. The reaction of the alumni
speaks for itself. My hope is that the college has thought about all
the changes they are making and the effect that it will have on
everyone within the Cabrini community and the future.
I will end this letter with a story that I heard recently that
made me think of Coach Dzik. A man walks into a room and is the
smallest person in the room. One of the taller gentlemen says to the
man, “How does it feel to be the smallest person in the room?” The
man replies, “I feel like a dime in a room full of pennies.” That
dime is Coach Dzik and the pennies are every other coach in America.
He has been a great person, friend and icon to Cabrini. Good Luck
Coach, you will be missed and I hope that wherever you end up that
someone at Cabrini starts selling that schools shirts in the
bookstore a.k.a. Texas Tech at Indiana. (If you are a basketball
fan, you know what I mean)
Thank you for your time and I hope all of my fellow alumni are
doing well. It really is great to see us all come together; I just
wished it was under better circumstances.
Nicholas J. Luchko
Class of 2001 and 2003