Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Gang's All Here

On Friday night, John Dzik got what he had coming.

A night dedicated solely to him.

Cabrini buried the hatchet with my old friend, mentor and coach, recognizing his 25 years at the helm of one of the most successful men's basketball programs in Division III history. About 300 friends, family and players filled The House that Dzik Built, otherwise known as the Nerney Field House in the Dixon Center.

As a coach, teacher and person, John Dizk is without peer and it was fitting that he went into the Cabrini Athletics Hall of Fame as the only inductee this year. One day soon, Cabrini should also recognize the two men who coached at his side for the entire 25 year run. Mike Keeley and Joe Kelly are guys who deserve a night like Friday night as well.

I don't have a whole lot I can say about the event. To comment too much would take away from it.  The induction was well-done from start to finish. Joe Giunta gets it and is doing a great job as AD at Cabrini. He's done yeoman's work restoring the trust of the alumni and his work as emcee Friday was solid. Marie Angelella George, Cabrini's president said all the right things in admitting Cabrini's error in casting aside a legend 5 years ago.

Michael "Sticks" Bennett represented the players well in remembering what it was like to play for Dzik. Mike Keeley spoke from the heart about his friend John. Joe Kelly covered all the bases talking about the highlights of the program. Gabby Harnett gave a dead-on impersonation. Mike Dzik spoke movingly of Dzik as a Dad, something no one else could cover.

Then The Big Dog took the stage. I'm pretty sure he thanked everyone he ever met in his 20 minutes at the podium. It was clear he was honored by the chance to say good-bye on his terms, and he took the time to let us know that he is doing just fine now that the sting has gone away. He spoke with dignity and pride, and we listened, attentive as always, as he closed the book on his life at Cabrini.

No one deserves the honors and plaudits more than Coach Dzik and I am glad we all got the chance to let him know how much he meant to us all.



Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Great recap of this event, Chris. (Mind if I link to this on my blog?) Joe Giunta is a class act and I am very glad to hear that President George recognized the mistakes of the past in her remarks. I'm glad that Cabrini recognized the need to right a wrong with this. Dzik is a legend and always has and will be, even to those of us who weren't involved in sports back then. Thanks for representing so well those of us who couldn't be there.

Chris said...

Melissa -
I wish you and The Dean had been able to make it. You are free to link as you wish!