John Dzik

Letters Sent by Alums and Friends: 
Letters Main > Jana Bruno Tidwell, Class of 1996

January 24, 2005

Robin Moll
Vice President
Institutional Advancement
Cabrini College
610 King of Prussia Road
Radnor, PA 19087

Dear Ms. Moll,

As a Cabrini College alum, I am writing to express my utter disgust and outrage over the recent announcement that the College has decided not to renew John Dzik’s contract as head men’s basketball coach beyond the current season – without any explanation.

In an effort to collect my thoughts prior to composing this letter, I spent some time thinking about the mission and core values upon which Cabrini College was founded. Your website and numerous pieces of literature generated by the College, state the following:

“In response to Frances Cabrini’s desire to provide an ‘education of the heart’ – a Catholic, Cabrinian education centered in Christ and ever mindful of the dignity and contributions of each person – the members of this College community, through a collaborative process, have enunciated these values which exist as a standard for our activities and as a hallmark for all future development. Education of the heart is achieved through the core values of: respect, vision, community, and dedication to excellence.”

I encourage you and everyone else who had a part in this inconceivable decision to reflect on the abovementioned quote and think about exactly which core value, or combination thereof, were evoked during the decision making process and upon reaching the conclusion not to renew John Dzik’s contract. One thing seems certain, the current administration has in no way been mindful of the dignity and contributions of John Dzik. At the conclusion of this letter I beg you to differ.

John Dzik and Cabrini College are synonymous. For over 20 years, John Dzik has dedicated his life to serving the Cabrini College community institutionally, athletically and spiritually. It is his hard work and unwavering dedication that have contributed in countless ways to the College’s continued advancement, success and reputation. I challenge you to find a person more dedicated to the mission of Cabrini College than John Dzik – in my mind and in the minds of most Cabrini College alumni, former student athlete or not, John Dzik is Cabrini College.

Of course, John “Coach” Dzik is most notable for his contributions and accomplishments, which speak for themselves, in the basketball arena. I can’t say for certain you were aware of these accomplishments prior to the College’s announcement, but I’m certain by now you’ve received numerous letters and read the newspaper articles that have run in recent days. Cabrini’s NCAA affiliation and PAC membership are both the result of Coach Dzik’s vision and dedication. Coach Dzik is currently ranked ninth in wins among active Division III coaches, 19th all-time. With a .697 winning percentage, coaching only one losing season in 24 years, Coach Dzik has coached the Cabrini men’s basketball team into the record books as the second winningest Division III program in history. Nothing in these credentials (and I have only highlighted a few) even hint of a reason not to renew Coach Dzik’s contract, especially as he nears the 500-win milestone, an accomplishment worth reveling for Coach Dzik, Cabrini College, current and former basketball players, and the entire Cabrini College community.

However, John Dzik’s success reaches far beyond the basketball arena. When you think of the countless lives he’s touched during his tenure at Cabrini College – students, parents, extended families, staff, and members of the community – the lasting impact he has made as a mentor and role model is insurmountable and unquestionable.

I was not a student athlete during my time at Cabrini (1992-1996), however, I didn’t have to be to say John Dzik had an impact on my college experience. From 1992-1996 John Dzik rallied the entire College community in support of the men’s basketball team as they went on to win four consecutive PAC championships. In those days there wasn’t an empty seat in the entire gymnasium as, in true Cabrini fashion, John Dzik coached his team to numerous victories. He taught his team and the College community how to win with dignity and sportsmanship – a story that drew media attention time and time again throughout each basketball season. John Dzik always assembled a team in the truest sense of the word – coaches and players of all backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities and religions, and taught them how to work together to achieve a common goal – a lesson this world so desperately needs to learn.

Having had many friends who played for John Dzik during that time, I can also tell you about the profound impact he had, and continues to have, on many lives reaching far beyond the 110-acre campus known as Cabrini College. My husband, Eric Tidwell (Class of 1996) was recruited by John Dzik to play basketball for Cabrini. It was John Dzik the coach, but also John Dzik the mentor, role model and leader that convinced Eric to come to Cabrini, and I assure you this was and is the case with most basketball players who come to Cabrini – they come because of John Dzik. The knowledge, experiences and life lessons John Dzik teaches his players reach far beyond their brief time at Cabrini. I can tell you without any hesitation, my husband is the man he is today largely in part to the tremendous influence John Dzik has had in his life for the past 13 years as a role model, coach, mentor, leader, and friend. For this I will always have the utmost respect and love for John Dzik. He has always embodied and taught “education of the heart,” which will forever be part of our lives, and my heart breaks for those lives that will not have the opportunity to be shaped by this great man.

Now I ask you, which of Cabrini’s core values, or combination thereof, were evoked when the administration made the decision not to renew John Dzik’s contract?

Respect? Doubtful – this is NOT a demonstration of respect for someone who has touched so many lives, enjoyed numerous career accomplishments and dedicated his life to the continued mission of Cabrini College. “We strive for a reverence of self and others manifested in trust and appreciation.” Do you honestly believe this matter was handled in such a way? And do you honestly believe the alumni and Cabrini College community will continue to respect the current administration for such a decision?

Vision? Again, doubtful – before making such an incomprehensible decision the administration should have had the vision to foresee the impact it would have on the students, alumni, donors, members of the community – and, of course, John Dzik and his family. It seems no one had the “vision” to think of how this decision would impact Cabrini College, not only today but in the future. I would venture to say the results of this “vision” will soon be felt in terms of alumni financial support (or lack thereof) for many years to come.

Community? This core value, as stated by the College, calls for “participation in the celebration of our values and traditions.” This decision in no way celebrates the values John Dzik has taught and traditions he has woven into the very fabric of Cabrini College. If anything, this decision has rallied the Cabrini College alumni community, among others, in support of John Dzik – something the administration should have been doing all along.

Dedication to excellence? As stated by the College, dedication of excellence “to maximize the potential of the individual and community we strive for the education of the whole person – intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual.” I feel this letter and the numerous others I’m sure you’ve received have more than adequately addressed John Dzik’s dedication to excellence and his commitment to education of the whole person.

To quote the headline in Terry Toohey’s 1/13/05 column in the Delaware County Daily Times, “Cabrini owed Dzik something better…once again we are reminded that loyalty is a thing of the past.” John Dzik is the most recent in a list of dedicated people who have been forced out of the very institution they have so selflessly served. With this decision Cabrini College has lost one of its finest supporters and ambassadors, and with that the College will also lose the respect, support and endorsement of many alumni, my self included. As a Cabrini College alum, I cannot in good conscious continue to support the mission of the College when the administration itself does not feel the need to do so. With this I ask that you immediately remove my name and personal contact information from any and all Cabrini College solicitations and mailing lists.


Jana Bruno Tidwell

Class of 1996

Vice President Alta Communications, Inc.

cc: Antoinette Iadarola, Christine Lysionek, Board of Trustees, Alumni Board, The Loquitur