President’s letter adds fuel to fire over Dzik

By Staff Writer
February 24, 2005

In a letter sent to alumni addressing the John Dzik situation, President Iadarola stated new reasons for not rehiring the long-time coach. “Our Athletic Director, Leslie Danehy, is committed to responding 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.”

Dzik was surprised to find that the decision not to renew his contract was done solely by the athletic department. “Leslie warned me that Lysionek was going to get rid of me. I see Iadarola spinning it down to Leslie.”

The changing environment that was indicated in the letter refers to a process that has been going on for 10 years in the NCAA to strengthen the academic aspect of student athletes. As recently as January 2005, the NCAA Division III has begun to vote on possible changes in their academic standards.

“I always put the welfare of the student-athlete first,” Dzik said.

The Loquitur was not able to document the student-athlete graduation rate because most Division III colleges like Cabrini do not give athletic scholarships. Danehy has stated that a computer system should be implemented in five years that will be able to track Cabrini’s graduation rate of student-athletes.

“I think they would be high (graduation rate) in all the sports; it wouldn’t just the men’s basketball team. I think that, again, I don’t have hard data,” Iadarola said.

Shortly after Dzik was told that the college would no longer require his coaching services, Dzik had a discussion with Vice-President of Student Development Christine Lysionek about philosophies towards academics and athletics. “She (Lysionek) told me through her observations we have divergent philosophies, whatever that means,” Dzik said.

It has been rumored and confirmed by Danehy that the college has looked into replacing Dzik with one of his assistant coaches most specifically his longtime asst. coach, Joe Kelly. Dzik said, “I find it odd that the school would fire me and want to hire Joe who after 25 years shares the same philosophy as I do.”

On March 18, 2005, coinciding with the end of the basketball season Dzik will no longer officially hold his position as special assistant to the president for athletic advancements leaving the responsibilities open. Vice-President of Institutional Advancement Robin Moll said, “What I’ll propose at our planning and budget meeting is not a direct replacement of that position as it was structured at the salary it was. I think that the work that was in that job’s description needs to get done, so I am very committed to continuing the work of engaging student athletes in the life of the college, now and in the future, in having meaningful connections between all alumni, but that would also include athletes in the ongoing life of the student and the plan.”

“I don’t know if there’s anymore about this issue that we can rehash; we’ve made a decision. We didn’t do it precipitously, we did it with great thought and regardless of the information that you are receiving from John, it was done in full consistent compliance of the college’s policies and procedures, and he does know the reason. So, he is not being kept in the dark,” Lysionek said.

Whether there has been any mutual discussion since the news first broke out over Dzik’s non-renewed contract has yet to be seen. Dzik said, “I haven’t reached out to anyone (administration) and they haven’t to me.”

For more information on this matter and to read the letter from the president, go to www.keepjohndzik.com

Posted to the web by Shawn Rice

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