John Dzik

Letters Sent by Alums and Friends: 
Letters Main > Andrea Kelliher, Class of 1997

February 28, 2005

Dr. Antoinette Iadarola
Cabrini College
610 King of Prussia Road
Radnor, PA 19087

Dear Dr. Iadarola,

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this letter. I have truly struggled with writing and sending this letter to you, Robin Moll and the Board of Trustees. Cabrini College means a great deal to me. The values and morals that I have came from my parents, but they were strengthened by my time at Cabrini College. Through the people that I interacted with, either in the classroom, at a work-study job on campus, through my numerous extra curricular activities or through the staff and administration I befriended. I hold these values and the relationships I established while at Cabrini close to my heart and they mean a great deal to me. But I am confused and ashamed at the manner in which Cabrini College has handled the situation with John Dzik.

John Dzik is a kind, caring, honorable man, a true educator, mentor and friend. During his 25 years at Cabrini he has taken time to care for each one of his players and for many more people who never played for him. These players and non-players are all people who care for John Dzik and that John Dzik cares about.

I have heard the stories and the comments that Leslie Dahney was promoted to Athletic Director because John Dzik was gracious to step aside and allow someone else the opportunity to have professional growth. As a female who has struggled in the field of college athletics and sports management, I found this movement within the college notable and thought this was exactly the type of person John Dzik is, always willing to help others advance personally and professionally. But to do this and be “rewarded” with the disgrace of being removed from his position of Head Men’s Basketball Coach is appalling.

As a student, I expressed my desire to want to get into the field of sports management. I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about it, but John Dzik helped me. He helped me to seek out opportunities, apply for various positions, sharpen my interviewing skills and then experience each one of my sports internships. I had the opportunity to intern with the Philadelphia BIG 5, the Atlantic 10 Conference and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). John Dzik may have made some phone calls to help me get my foot in the door, but it was my skills, experience and determination that landed me the USOC internship and John Dzik was the one who convinced me to apply. When I said, who would take a “girl from a small time school”, he said “why wouldn’t they.” Low and behold a few months later I was walking around campus with a letter congratulating me for being accepted into the USOC internship program. The first place I went after receiving this letter was to John Dzik, not a phone call home to my family. I went to John Dzik, because he understood what being accepted into this internship program meant to me, the significance of this internship and the opportunities that would be open to me. John Dzik could have walked away from me then, but he didn’t. He helped me to come up with the funding to get to Colorado Spring. He introduced me to a few people and spoke of the internship I had just been awarded and a long time friend of the men’s basketball program paid for my airfare. No questions asked. Not many people would do this, but they would if John Dzik asked them too. This is a true testament to John Dzik’s commitment to the students of Cabrini College.

My USOC internship is an experience that I will remember forever. This coveted program only accepts at a maximum 20 students each semester. Every student involved in this program comes from a “big” college with over 10,000 students. In the summer of 1995, I walked across the campus of the USOC in Colorado Spring, CO. I never would have even considered this opportunity if it wasn’t for the encouragement and belief that John Dzik had for me, let alone even knew that this opportunity existed. I placed Cabrini College on the map that summer to many people who had never heard of Cabrini College or knew that it even existed. How many Alumni can you say had the opportunity to intern at the United States Olympic Committee?

Cabrini prides itself on its Core Values: RESPECT – VISION – COMMUNITY - DEDICATION TO EXCELLENCE. I challenge you to reflect on these values and how you implored each one in the handling this situation and the long-term effects it will have on future alumni contributions to the College, financial and otherwise.

I am sure that you have received numerous letters from Alumni, Parents and Current Students all expressing their outrage. While I may have never set foot on the basketball court and helped win a game, a PAC Championship or helped take the team to the NCAA Division III Tournament (not State Championships) I still learned just as much and value Coach Dzik just as much. Coach Dzik is a mentor, father figure and coach to so many of us. He could have walked away from me the first day he met me, as I was not a student athlete. But he didn’t!! He took the time to get to know me and help me to achieve the goals I wanted and told me if they were reasonable or if I was setting myself up for failure, or taking on a fight I may not win because I was trying to get in a male-dominated industry. I graduated in 1997 and Coach Dzik has continued to mentor and guide me in the field of sports management. I currently am the Assistant Director of a national non-profit organization, The First Tee of Greater Trenton (part-time), in addition to working for a national marketing company as a Senior National Account Director, handling our east coast accounts.

I have attended Cabrini College basketball games since I have graduated and love them just as I did as a student. But the part that gets me each time is that Coach Dzik, John Kelly and Mike Keeley have always made me feel that I was part of the “family.” You may be able to take their jobs away, but you will never take away the fact that we are all family to each other.

As I said at the beginning of my letter, I am writing this with a very heavy heart. This college means a great deal to me. I don’t know of all of the underlying circumstances as to why this decision has been made, but I hope that while you have worked to build great big buildings on this campus that you are not going to walk off this campus in a few years without caring or any remorse for what you have done to John Dzik and those of us who care so deeply for him. I will not continue to support your request for donations or participation in alumni functions. I will not encourage potential students to consider Cabrini College.

Each year you have asked Alumni to increase their donations, so that you could show that Alumni donations have increased to try and get additional dollars from other resources. I agreed with this strategy and each year increased my donation. Finishing out 2004 I finally thought I would be able to increase further my donation to the college and finally make a substantial donation. But with the news of your firing John Dzik I do not feel that I can write a check to the college now or in years to come. I can tell you, the Board of Trustees and Robin Moll that wherever John Dzik lands I will make a donation to that institution. So for now I will just continue to save what I would have made as my donation and the lucky institution or organization that has the honor of hiring John Dzik will be pleased to receive a donation from me. It is a fact that many of my classmates and friends who have graduated over the past 8-10 years are probably also financially better off now than they were a few years ago and could now consider making a donation or larger donation to the college than they have in the past. I will begin encouraging them to hold on to their checks and wait and see where John Dzik gets hired.

Believe in the decisions that the college has made? I will, but believe me that the Alumni don’t BELIEVE that Mother Ursula would ever have taken a person out of their job who has done so much for the college in a positive way and has impacted on so many lives. And believe me, while you and I may have had the opportunity to interact when I was the President of the Student Government Association and I helped sway opinions and get people to listen to all of the views that there were to a situation. I will not do that with this situation. Believe me that my financial donations will go wherever Coach Dzik goes.


Andrea Kelliher
Class of 1997
Assistant Director, The First Tee of Greater Trenton
Senior National Account Manager, Campaigners Inc.

Cc: Robin Moll, Leslie Dahney, Christine Lysionek, Cabrini College Board of Trustees, The Loquitur