President Cabrini College
610 King of Prussia Road
Radnor, PA 19807
February 4, 2005
Dear Dr. Iadarola
At the end of the beloved Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life,
the angel Clarence gives George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart’s character) a
book with an inscription that reads “Remember, no man is a failure
who has friends”. By that measure I know of no one who has achieved
more success in their life than Coach Dzik.
I’ll go one further, any man who makes his life’s work making his
friends feel part of a greater community, a greater family, achieves
something more than success. He achieves love, respect, honor, and
total and complete friendship from those that know him. And to know
John Dzik is to love him. This is a testament to his life’s work at
Cabrini College. We all love our family and friends and cherish
them, but because of Coach we also have our Cabrini family. I know
I’m not alone when I say that I am honored to be part of this
greater community and to call him my friend.
He is the father and patriarch of a larger brotherhood of current
and former players, their families, coaches, alumni, fans,
scorekeepers, trainers, and anyone who supported the Athletic
Department at Cabrini College. This extended family is not limited
to the Basketball Program. He touched the lives of athletes in every
sport at Cabrini.
I was a student-athlete at Cabrini from 1992-1996, playing on 4
consecutive PAC Championship teams under the direction of our coach,
mentor, friend, and leader, John Dzik. This truly wonderful
experience included 3 berths to the Division III National
Tournament. Our success was born and bred from his vision, his
unwavering focus on the principles of teamwork. I carry his lessons
with me to this day and will continue to hold them dear and attempt
to pass them along to others for as long as I live.
To this day he is the greatest motivator I have ever met. In
business or athletics, if you asked me who I would want to play for,
who I would want leading a team, my answer is John Dzik. He made us
proud to play for Cabrini College. When you wore that Cabrini jersey
he made you aware of the legacy of players and teams that had graced
our court before you. He would not allow us to disgrace their hard
work and dedication to excellence by giving anything less than 100%
I also played on the golf team for Coach Dzik for 3 years.
Learning one of my life’s passions from him is one of the great
memories of my life. I can’t wait until the next time we play
together. I know he’ll teach me something new.
College can be a difficult time, being away from home for the
first time and all. Coach helped me through this time of my life. He
acted as a father figure to me. When I did well he was there to pat
me on the back. When I messed up he was there to admonish. Most
importantly, though, when I needed someone to talk to, his door was
always open. He was there for me. Sometimes there is nothing more
that we can do for one another than listen.
I was truly inspired in reading the letters of alumni, former
players, parents of Cabrini students, and former colleagues of Coach
Dzik. I implore you to read these letters and after you read them,
read them again. They are pure love.
If you knew nothing about John Dzik and you read these letters,
what conclusion would you draw?
My initial reaction to your decision was to write a scathing
letter of disapproval, but from careful contemplation and in falling
back on the lessons learned from my dear friend and greatest
teacher, Coach Dzik, I do not wish to persecute you for your
decision not to extend his contract. These letters have already done
that. The truth is undeniable. The truth always finds its way to the
surface. I hope and pray that you will see the truth of this
From your decision, the only conclusion that I can draw is that
you do not value athletics and the core values of teamwork in the
same breath as those lessons learned in the classroom. Forgive me
for being so presumptuous, but it is ironic that some of your most
successful alumni are former players and athletes under Coach Dzik’s
This smells of a personal vendetta. Your request that Coach use
vacation time for his duties as “Special Assistant to the president
for Athletic Advancement” for those business hours missed because of
coaching or recruiting is inherently contradictory, irrational, and
strategically provocative and incendiary. If your vocabulary is a
bit rusty, this means I’m saying you intentionally created this
policy with the specific intent of running Coach out of your
institution. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Oscar Wilde once said, “Experience is simply the name we give our
mistakes”. I implore you to please learn from your experience.
Please rectify this mistake. You would be applauded and championed
with the same ferocity and passion that you have seen from Coach’s
friends and family in defending him.
Mike Dever, Class of ‘96’