Alumni seek answers over Dzik

By Staff Writer
February 3, 2005

Shawn Rice

Many Cabrini alumni are feeling baffled by the recent events surrounding Dzik and Cabrini. Graduates have been voicing their emotions regarding Cabrini’s decision not to renew Dzik’s contract.

An effort to reinstate John Dzik as coach of the men’s basketball team next season has begun with the website, http://www.keepjohndzik.com/ . The webpage, which according to webmaster and Cabrini graduate Rich Schepis has seen on average a 1,000 hits per day since it was launched, has been created with one intention: seeking the renewal of Dzik’s contract by the end of the season.

The website states, “Cabrini College must apologize in public via a press release stating that they made a mistake, and that John Dzik will be offered a new contract that allows him to stay on for as long as he so desires. It should be his choice.”

Schepis said, “We are asking the college to remove our names from solicitations. We are going after the money by pulling the financial support from big donors.”

Alumni response over the letting go of Dzik has been overwhelming, according to several alumni involved with the effort. Many alumni have asked what to do to help. Dzik said, “When anyone comes to me and says, ‘Coach Dzik, what can I do?’ I have the same response that everyone has asked me since this became a public issue: ‘You do whatever you wish to do-you follow your heart.’ I have not asked anyone to do anything and I don’t want anyone to think that I’m leading some kind of crusade to save my job.”

Through Cabrini alumnus Chris Pesotski’s experience in working with three different colleges, he has never seen a college ask its coach to take their personal time from their full-time positions for practice. Pesotski said, “I can’t fathom why they would let him (Dzik) go. I’m shocked. They (Cabrini) have no idea how upset the students will be.”

John Mack, a member of Cabrini’s Alumni Association Board of Directors, said, “A lot of different alumni have been voicing their displeasure over the situation. A lot of people have said they have no interest in being part of a program (alumni events) without Dzik.”

The question remains whether the negative backlash from alumni will hurt future events with the alumni association board. Lou Monaco, an alumnus, said, “I will be attending my 15th reunion this June. But that’s it!”

“I am very worried about a backlash hurting future events. This is a very difficult situation for the college community. The college has many exciting events planned for the future, and it would be a shame to the students currently enrolled, and those that have yet to enroll,” Hillary Chybinski, president of the alumni board, said.

The alumni board has met with Vice-President of Institutional Advancement, Robin Moll to discuss the situation and several members have been in contact with Dzik. The board is currently composing a letter to the entire alumni association to address their action to date concerning the Dzik situation.

Monaco said, “Coach Dzik should not be let go. Period. I’m aggravated, angry and sad for the Cabrini student that a man of his stature, his accomplishments, his record and his care for the college community has been dealt with in this fashion. He has, and continues to do, so much for the college that this is nothing but a black eye for the school.”

Whether alumni will continue to voice their opinions about the entire situation will be seen at the alumni game on Feb. 5 in the Dixon Center. The men’s basketball team will play at 3 p.m. with the alumni game following it immediately afterwards.

Patrick Zipfel, an alumnus, said, “If the college is unhappy with his full-time work of special assistant to the president, I wish they would offer him the opportunity to continue as basketball coach. His true passion and success lies in his ability to coach, mold young men and win basketball games.”

The administration has received mixed feelings from people voicing their opinions about the situation. Vice-President for Institutional Advance Robin Moll said, “There are a group of people who obviously care deeply for John and they’re reflecting John’s feelings at this point and that’s understandable. He knows an awful lot of students and he’s been here for a long time. There are other alums that recognize that the people making the decisions have the long-term interest of the college at heart and have sent support for the decision.”

For most alunmi, Dzik is described as bleeding blue and white and cannot understand why he was let go. Dzik is very close to achieving 500 career wins with Cabrini, an accomplishment that few coaches ever reach.

“The loss of Coach John Dzik is an undeniable ache to the college community, including many of the alumni. While this is terribly painful, I have to say that I admire the alumni that have banded together to support Coach Dzik. That is what Cabrini taught us how to do. Cabrini taught us to lead with our hearts, and speak our minds,” Chybinski said.

http://www.keepjohndzik.com/

Posted to the web by Ryan Norris

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