Alum protests by denying team facility access

By Laura Van De Pette
February 17, 2005

Chayne Roland

The men’s lacrosse team is feeling the adverse effect of the firing of basketball coach John Dzik as they struggle through their practice season. With the men’s first game less than three weeks away, the goal area of their field is still covered with a tarp that has done very little in preventing the field from turning into a near swamp. Prior to the firing of Dzik, the team practiced on a turf field provided for free by a Cabrini alumnus as a favor to Dzik.

A close friend and 1987 alumnus of Cabrini College, Charlie Dodds, has allowed the men’s soccer team to use his indoor field at Rocket Sports in Wayne for the past three years. Last year Dzik approached Dodds and asked if the men’s lacrosse team could use the outdoor turf field at Rocket Sports. Dodds, who is a huge Dzik fan and supporter, agreed without question. Dodds said, “I never took a dime from Cabrini. I allowed the lacrosse team to practice on the turf when weather was bad. The favor was done out of the utmost respect for John Dzik.”

The men’s head lacrosse coach, Stephen Colfer, said, “Charlie [Dodds] can choose to do what he wants with his facility. Unfortunately it is hurting the wrong people. Although I do understand his standpoint and respect that he has conviction, I feel the lacrosse team is caught in the middle.”

As a result of the Jan. 22 snowstorm that dumped over a foot of snow on the fields, the ground is underwater and the grass is too soft and muddy to use during practice. Sophomore Ryan Dunn said, “His [Charlie Dodds] actions hurt the lacrosse team because we cannot practice real game situations until the weather is warmer and the field begins to dry out, which won’t be for awhile because of all the snow that is still melting.”

Colfer said, “The Dixon Center was built for basketball and volleyball, not lacrosse. We have been practicing in the field house and we are at a competitive disadvantage because we’re practicing on a court that is half the size of our field. Seventy-five percent of lacrosse is up and down running and we are not able to practice that in the field house.”

Dodds was a soccer player when he attended Cabrini and met Dzik through his work-study job in the athletic office. Dodds said, “I never played basketball for him but he still had such a positive influence on my life. It was like having a father on campus.”

Dodds feels Cabrini’s athletic program will be in “big trouble and will lack leadership without him.” Because of the tremendous respect Dodds has for Dzik and the anger he felt after learning of the administration’s decision, he said, “I called the athletic department and told them that Rocket Sports was off limits for any Cabrini team.”

Rob Tinsley, a junior business administration major, said, “I feel the field situation is ridiculous. Our team is being punished for something we have no control over. There is no question that I respect Coach Dzik but the administration chose to fire Dzik, not the men’s lacrosse team.”

The team’s first scrimmage was played Feb. 12 on Villanova’s turf field.

Colfer said, “We have been talking about a turf field for nine seasons and we still don’t have one. The lack of useable practice space has affected the men psychologically. The team was so excited to practice at Rocket Sports and really looking forward to the turf field and then it was taken away for reasons that have nothing to do with the men.”

Despite concerns over practice space and the lack of space to practice on a full length field, the men defeated Villanova 7-4.

Dodds said, “My heart goes out to the teams that are affected by this but I simply cannot get behind the college after making this decision regarding Coach Dzik. He is the heart and soul of Cabrini athletics. He is Cabrini. He is the man.”

Dodds speaks with Dzik on a regular basis and when he learned that Dodds was denying all teams the access to Rocket Sports, Dodds said, “Dzik was mad. He was upset that I was taking my anger over the situation out on the kids. Even when his back is up against the wall, he still puts the athletes’ interest first.”

Despite the tremendous respect the lacrosse coaching staff and team has for Dzik, Colfer says, “Whether I disagree or agree with Charlie Dodds makes no difference at this point. The decision is made and I respect Charlie [Dodds] nonetheless. The bottom line is we are stuck in the middle and there is nothing we can do at this time.”

Posted to the web by Chayne Roland

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Laura Van De Pette

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