John Dzik was enshrined into Cabrini College’s Athletic Hall of Fame during a ceremony in the Nerney Field House at the Dixon Center on Friday, Sept. 24. Dzik served the Cabrini College community for over two decades as both the coach of the men’s basketball team and the school’s athletic director.
The packed crowd inside the Nerney Field House warmly applauded Dzik, the sole inductee of the class of 2010, as he thanked his family, colleagues and former players from the podium.
“My whole life is made up of the people in this room,” Dzik said. “The memories and relationships that I have are what make up my life. You have given me much more than I have given you. All I wanted to do is coach.”
In 25 years of coaching, Dzik compiled an astounding win-loss record of 483-216, not to mention a trip to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament in 2001-02 and playoff berths in 24 of his 25 years with the men’s basketball program.
“In 1980 the John Dzik era began,” Joe Kelly, former men’s assistant basketball coach, said. “And what an era it turned out to be.”
Kelly and Mike Keeley were just two of the presenters who honored Dzik at the ceremony. Both served as assistant coaches under Dzik for as long as he was with the basketball program.
Keeley recalled coach Dzik’s passion for teaching and thanked him for his time with Cabrini.
“It’s never been about himself,” Keeley said. “It’s always been about the program and the Cabrini family. He dearly loved the Cabrini family.”
Other presenters at the event included Dr. Joseph Romano, who was responsible for the hiring of coach Dzik in 1980, former player Mike Bennett and Dzik’s son, Mike Dzik.
Romano’s speech provided a strong idea of what John Dzik meant to the Cabrini College community, both as a person and a coach.
“John Dzik dedicated his energy, talent and loyalty to Cabrini for 25 years,” Romano said. “He recognized raw talent and turned that raw talent into winners.”
Former player Mike Bennett, the second speaker of the night, remembered coach Dzik as both a father figure and as someone who always enforced doing the right thing.
“He talked to us about the difference between right and wrong, choices and consequences,” Bennett said.
Prior to coach Dzik’s induction speech, his son Mike took the podium and reminisced about growing up around Cabrini’s basketball teams. The younger Dzik also talked about how the game of basketball enabled him and his father to bond and grow closer together.
When coach Dzik stepped up to the podium and began his speech, the first thing he did was thank and acknowledge everyone in attendance, showing that this night was not only about him but also about the people that came out to celebrate his legacy.
“Look at every guy who played, graduated and became successful; that is my father’s legacy,” Mike Dzik said.
“Basketball was more than just wins and losses to John,” Kelly said. “It was about the student-athletes.”
Without the strong performance of the student-athletes who played for coach Dzik over the years, the 483 wins linked to Dzik’s legacy would never have happened.
“Good coaches have one thing in common: good players,” Dzik said. “We have been blessed at Cabrini College that we have had many fine players over the years. I am very proud of Cabrini College and the men’s basketball program.”
As evidenced by the two dozen plus former players who swarmed Dzik for photographs after the ceremony and the standing ovation he received during the ceremony, the Cabrini College community is proud of him too.