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Notre Dame-Fairfield inexplicably fires Dawon Dicks as coach

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Notre Dame Fairfield High School head football coach Dawon Dicks was reportedly relieved of his coaching duties. Photo: Amy Mortensen .

Notre Dame-Fairfield’s Dawon Dicks confirmed a report Tuesday that he is no longer the school’s football coach.

“Please contact (ND athletic director) Rob Bleggi,” Dicks said via text message. “I’m no longer the coach of (ND).”

Bleggi released a statement Tuesday afternoon which simply said “Coach Dicks is no longer the head football coach at Notre Dame-Fairfield. I have no further comment on the matter.”

The report circulated publicly due to a protest hashtag on Twitter, #WeWantCoachD, in which ND students cried for Dicks to be retained.

Notre Dame went 1-9 last year. Dicks, an alumnus of the school, was the program’s fourth coach in five years following a one-year stint by Rico Brogna, two years from Joe Beler and, before him, Jason Hart.

Fairfield-Citizen sports editor Pat Pickens contributed to this report.


Sean Patrick Bowley

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44 Responses

  1. JB says:

    Georgetown grad, ND grad, great role model for those kids … I don’t get it. Way too much focus on winning at all costs … this is high school! Give the man some time to develop a program. Ugh.

  2. Bubba says:

    JB: It’s probably not about winning, or he would have been canned in December. Just sayin!

  3. kevin j.calahan says:

    I am a former student of ND as well as my 2 older brothers. I was the head coach of the football team from 1992 to 1998 my entire staff was alumni of ND Blue and Gold has always run deep in me and my coaches and players. Coach D. was the only underclassmen that i have had as a captain in my 21 years as head coach. Not to mention a graduate of Georgetown University where he played football. I will not waste everyones time speaking to to Coach D’s accolades because they are to many to list. There is a terrible injustice that is going on at ND and as much as Coach D is heart broken with this decision the people that loose are the kids and the people he works with because trust me he is that quality guy that we all would be better working with or just seeing him on a daily basis. I am putting my name to this because i believe in what high school sports stand for and we do not get enough good people willing to make the commitment like coach D, He is also by the way a member of the Hall of Fame at ND . So with that being said some one has to tell me what is going on, and do not wait to long because Coach D is so good he will be gone in a heart beat. sorry this a long winded comment but i hope you can understand my passion and belief in Coach D thank you. Kevin J. Callahan

  4. tommy z says:

    Don’t get this , Coach D is a Quality Man a good mentor and teacher . All the kids love and respect Him . Maybe it is the athletic director that should go !!!!!!

  5. DevilDog 9 says:

    As both a Parent of a player and a alumni I find this to be a outrage ! Coach Dicks would have brought a stability to a team that has not had that in a while . He is also a teacher in the school and one of the best players to ever wear the blue and gold ! To be dismissed like this after one year is unacceptable ! He brings more to the table then coaching a sport , not only should He be reinstated , But the current AD should be fired and Coach Dicks appointed AD .You maybe can find someone else to coach the team but You won’t find anyone better I urge the princable to correct this matter now before we end up with another Rico Brogna !!!!!

  6. local guy says:

    ….and they wonder why this school is close to folding. The diocese should save everyone the trouble, close this school and let Sacred Heart expand their campus.

  7. fciacfan says:

    Unless there is some “smoking gun” no one knows about, I really can’t see how this decision makes any sense. You have a young, respected teacher in the building, who serves as a great role model for his students, who graduated from the school and knows the school’s culture and tradition. There are countless schools that would kill to have a person with Coach Dicks’ background leading their program. Not to mention the players….who had to deal with the joke of a hire in Rico Brogna, and now this…..the seniors will have had 3 head coaches in 3 years! Stability? Grow a program? How about the work done in the off-season? And some, if not all, coaches were let go — who is going to lead the team during spring practice/summer workouts, etc? The timing is terrible as well…..

    Unless there is something going down no one knows about, this is a real head-scratcher…….

  8. JB says:

    Makes no sense … must be a dispute over budget. Given the comment by local guy, maybe ND is going to drop football?

  9. I don’t want to publish unsubstantiated rumors regarding this. If you think you know what’s going on, email me at sbowley@ctpost.com.

  10. JB says:

    For the record, I have no idea what is going on at ND and did not mean to start any rumors. Just mystified as to why they would let this coach go. I have no affiliation with ND and really don’t know anything about the program. I had the pleasure of watching a few workout clinics where Dawon was a coach. Just a great person who had total respect from his kids and every other non-ND kid at the sessions. And to learn he is also a teacher at the school and in their Hall of Fame? Wow, just a shame to see this happen.

  11. Lol says:

    Cheers to a great upcoming season 1-9 again lol

  12. ctcoach says:

    As a coach in the state, and a man that has some familiarity with the program, to say the least, this is outrageous. This man would’ve been great for that school and that program. High School football is not an easy coaching job, there are way more factors in play then just the game. This guy cared about the kids (both football players and non football players alike) and the school by all accounts. This guy would’ve turned this program around, it would’ve taken some time probably, but I believe he would’ve gotten it there. Very sad day. I hope he gets picked up by a school/program with a sense of commitment to the things that matter most.

  13. Jason Sapp says:

    Quick shout out to Coach Callahan for his true statements above, who is someone I’ll always have a great respect for having played for him for two seasons at NDHS, learning a life lesson that helped me progress to the college level and being inducted into the Hall of Fame together.

    Dawon Dicks isn’t just a former teammate, fellow captain and close friend of mine – he’s a brother for life.

    I still remember getting the phone call when he first learned that he had an opportunity to coach and teach at our alma mater, and the excitement that easily carried over the phone. It was a chance to don the Blue & Gold that he has so much pride in once again. And have an opportunity to have an impact on the lives of students at a school and within a football program that meant so much to him in his life.

    He had a decision to make and moving “home” from Washington, D.C., was what he felt was the best option. Not only because of the upcoming challenge and how he could better his coaching career moving forward. But being around student-athletes that he walked the same hallways as, experienced similar struggles and found a way to continue on to a life goal for many of us being raised on the East End and East Side of Bridgeport — getting a college education and making our families proud.

    Coach Callahan laid out the type of person Dawon is both on and off the field, so it isn’t necessary for me to rehash the importance of having an influential figure like him both in the classroom and on the gridiron.

    But I will undoubtedly echo the sentiments on desiring some type of explanation as to why a decision, albeit understandably a tough one, was made so rashly with someone having such a strong history with the school.

    Nine months just isn’t enough time for a program to be turned around. It’s a process that happens over time and while a young, first-time head coach is just viewed as inexperienced when he suffers a 1-9 season, that doesn’t mean that progress hasn’t been made.

    The walls that cause a resistance to change have to be torn down in order for a program to be built back up from level 1. Four head coaches in 5 years just doesn’t bring the type of stability to a program that players or their parents can have comfort in knowing things are headed in the right direction.

    Whether it’s the decision-making process being reassessed based on the strong support a great man is receiving or the choice is final and there isn’t a chance to continue in that position or at some capacity — “no further comment on the matter” is disappointing to say the least.

    Not as an alum demanding answers. But for Dawon to know why the choice was made and help in the process of making the next step in all of this — something that will happen either way with the type of person he is.

    Sure, someone I’m fortunate to call a brother of mine suffers in this. But the kids and those that have the opportunity to work with Dawon on a daily basis suffer even more with the chances of losing him as part of a school we’re both very proud to say we’re a part of.

    I, too, apologize for the long note, but something I had to get off of my chest as someone who is also passionate about this following the number of calls, e-mails, texts, etc. I’ve had since it happened with everyone wondering … Why?

    JSapp

  14. Truth says:

    Guys, why are we complaining here about him being fired. People have made society the way it is. Past accomplishments are actually held against you in the liberal world that has been created. They dont want anyone to feel that they have accomplished more than the low man. You are actually better being a worthless loser now a days. It’ll end up changing back, it’s just sickening to watch now. Liberals hate machoism and male success.

    And if you are a liberal that’s going to argue, do me a favor and shut up and look at how many coaches were fired/forced to resign over minor stuff.

    Coach Dicks probably was forces out because of 1 parent, others in the community that loved him carried no weight.

    That is the society the liberals created. ‘Do more for the small group than the large group.’

  15. Jamison says:

    @Truth (That’s ironic)

    Liberals are the cause of this? Wow. If you really think one parent can get coaches fired then every high school coach would get fired every year.

  16. The Dude says:

    NDF has no idea what the heck they are doing when it comes to the football program. To fire a man of this stature is a joke.

  17. swcinsider says:

    # 11 lol your an IDIOT when they rehire this wonderful young man
    because people are starting to understand they run things not governments or panty wearing administrators they should demand any one involved with this outrage be fired for incompetence

  18. football mom says:

    MAYBE MR BLEGI SHOULD RESIGN. He cares nothing about the football program all he cares about is hockey because he played . Coach D is an awesome Coach. The countless hours he spent with those kids mentoring them on and off the field.He is STABILITY for these boys. Is Mr Blegi gonna bring in another Rico? or Mingo? . These kids want to play for Coach Dicks Don’t their voices count? These kids started a petition to show the solidarity and the respect they have for Coach Dicks. ND says they care about the kids what a joke. Get rid of Blegi and bring back Coach Dicks

  19. Truth says:

    At liberal jamison. Look how many got the axe this year. In the 20′s. check mate.

  20. Jamison says:

    @Truth. Okay you figured it out. Liberals main goal is to get every football coach fired and replaced by philosophy professors. After all, those complaining parents aren’t over the top trying to relive their supposed glory years through their children wannabe coaches. You should visit the 21st century, it’s not that bad a place.

  21. Truth says:

    Lol, by your posts one could tell you obviously are a liberal. And also you have no involvement in coaching hs athletics. The 21st century kind of sucks. You as a liberal are posting on a blog that involves a sport that YOU arevtrying to abolish.

  22. Ned says:

    Hey, Truth — stop hogging the shrooms and share with the rest of us, you crazy nut

    Less daffy rants, more proper grammar and spelling. Zombie Goldwater wouldn’t approve

  23. Lol says:

    #17 your the IDIOT bc that’s who they are lol are 1-9 football program ND sucks

  24. swcinsider says:

    SPB enough is not enough it has tilted in one direction so bad
    its effecting the only challenging thing left for theses youth,
    “sports”. go check out the s**t show at Weston and their basketball
    coach and the administrators reacted from a anonymous tip (whats up with that)

  25. mueller says:

    Truth stop it if you want to talk high school football and bash liberals then go to the NVL blog, they do it over there on the regular

  26. @swcinsider – I’m totally in agreement with you. But I’m saying don’t pin it on politics. I’m a pretty liberal guy, but extreme parent intervention drives me up a wall. No wonder people don’t want to coach, everything gets blown out of proportion by overzealous parental crazies. Newsflash: not everybody can have their way. Are there legitimate problems that need to be addressed? Yes. But everybody ease off the reins and let your kid grow up, please.

  27. Dr. Von Nostran says:

    “The only really good place to coach is at an orphanage” – legendary CT Coach

  28. Jamison says:

    I have never met Mr. Dicks, but from the postings here it seems he is quite the upstanding young man and someone you would want to have as a coach representing your school. Anyone expecting an immediate turnaround at ND is delusional, but then again delusional parents come with the territory especially in HS football. I hope Mr. Dicks applies elsewhere, after all us liberals have ensured that there are plenty of openings this year.

    Are we ever going to find out what really happened?

    The following is pure supposition, I have no firsthand knowledge of any particulars. There are three ways I can see this coming out. First, the reason for dismissal was legit and ND will be shown to have done the right thing. What legit reason beyond some kind of crime or major breaking of rules I don’t know. He certainly didn’t deserve to be dismissed just for having a losing season.

    The second way is that the dismissal is for some bogus reason because someone, either a parent(s) or school official, did not like Mr. Dicks. This would not reflect well on ND. The third and what I think is the most likely reason is a combination of the first two. Mr. Dicks had some infraction that in a coach who had gone 9-1 instead of 1-9 would have been overlooked or at most given a verbal or written reprimand. Throw in a parent or school official who doesn’t like him for some reason and you get a dismissal instead of a reprimand. This too does not look good on ND.

    BTW: I am a coach and an official and a registered Democrat. Truth might be surprised at how many of us liberals there are in HS sports. We have a secret handshake and everything so we know each other. :)

  29. CTFB12 says:

    Classic example of parents running the ship happened a few years ago at Lauralton Hall. They had arguably the best girls basketball coach in the state and then ran him out because he was playing the younger(and Better)players over the seniors. He pissed off some rich parents who contributed large sums of money and when their kid didnt play they ran him out of Dodge. Extreme case, yes. Its my opinion that most high school coaches leave or step down nowadays because of parent involvement and weak administration. The administration is afraid of the parents filing a frivilous lawsuit and being named in it so they decide its easier to just get another coach. Sad world

  30. Carl D says:

    Our whole society has shifted. Many of you make very good points(Truth) but 2013 is such a different world than we grew up in. Many parents, not all, get their kids invoved at a very young age and expect hs sports to be run like youth leauges. Then reality sets in and they but heads with programs. Insted of discussing this with coaches they go right to the super and what may be a small issue is now news worthy. Add in the bully factor(no kid should ever feel uncomfortable or forced to do anything) and there is a recipe for problems.

  31. Mom of a Sr. Football Player says:

    Coach Dicks needs to fight this !!!! Hire an Attorney and demand some “LEGITIMATE” answers as to why they have let you go. You have had such an impact on my son that everyone noticed it on the field this past season. Even though my son is graduating, even I was excited for the program to see all of the changes you were going to make for the upcoming football season. But J.Sapp said it well, “the walls that cause a resistance to CHANGE have to be torn down”. Dawon, you have ignited the drive and determination in my son to strive for the best and never give up. Now I’m telling you, “Don’t give up”….talk to an Attorney!!!

  32. AnsoniaFan says:

    Just watched some of the Ansonia highlights on the side toolbar. Matos will be missed. He was our best player last year and the most dominant player we had in a long time. If he played RB the whole time even the year before I think he would have almost doubled Newsome’s numbers.

  33. swcinsider says:

    SPB We need to find a solution this is becoming an epidemic. you
    should do a piece about youth sports its totally out of control
    with parent involvement. Someone once told me mothers are raising there sons to be women and there daughters to be men. Politics that’s what we call it when common sense and right from wrong cant be understood or
    implemented

  34. @swcinsider: Cats and dogs, living together! MASS HYSTERIA!

  35. Truth says:

    Jamison, you are a liberal without power and you are a sports fan. It’s when a liberal gets power and is not a sport fan. Recipe for disaster

  36. tommyz says:

    So this is how they treat accomplished alumi , this whole matter has a real stink to it .The kids are the one’s who will pay the price ,and not just the football team ! To be fair at this point , maybe they should do a clean sweep and get rid of The AD also , isn’t He the one after all who made the Brogna hireing (reson enough right there) maybe they could hire someone to do both like when coach Bevino was there , any coincedence that that is also the last time they had any winning teams ! They better act quick before a lot of the talented underclass bail and You won’t even have enough kids to field a team ! Your call ND !!!!Do the right thing a lot of backers are watching

  37. Current Parent says:

    Have a student at ND…told me that the Principal, Dean and AD met the students who started a petition. They said it had nothing to do with the teams record. Said there was some other reason that they couldn’t discuss. Don’t know what that means.

  38. @CurrentParent – That sounds in line with the bits and pieces I’ve been looking at. Thanks.

  39. JB says:

    Sorry to whomever this might piss off, but I felt so passionate about this situation I asked the Diocese’s SI to look into this matter. The situation demands a compassionate review to ensure Mr. Dick’s dismissal is for just cause. She confirmed it is under review.

  40. RAY BROWN says:

    WITH ALL THE SUPPORT THIS MAN HAS,ITS HARD TO BELIEVE.YOU FIGURED THEY HIT ROCK BOTTOM WHEN THEY HIRED BROGNA.UNLESS OF COURSE THERE IS SOMETHING THE PUBLIC DOESNT KNOW

  41. JB says:

    RAY, the public may never know the details. Some day you should meet Dawon, you would welcome him to your team/town like a son. All of this enormous public support is equal to the quality of the man.

  42. Steve Almeida says:

    I submit this out of concern for my shared alma mater- Notre Dame of Fairfield. I speak from a position of experience and pride. Having played my best as a member of a TEAM at ND from 82-86. I share this as it underscores the pride I possess even today as a middle- aged PROFESSIONAL. My comments are directed to the Administrative and Athletic Dept Staff, comprising the ND Lancers FAMILY.

    I agree with Jason Sapp and Coach Kevin Callahan whole heartedly about Coach D’s promise and potential to educate and coach students-athletes to become successful men and women, while underpinning the academic excellence associated with ND Graduates. But I have some concerns here today due to the seemingly impulsive firing of a good man. This man is a Hall of Fame Alum that you chose to acknowledge and exemplify when bestowing that honor upon him. An honor that illustrates years of committment to excellence both in the classroom and on the field. How can you – we degrade the man with a sudden termination and fire him after 1 football season? Have you performed due process to invesigate the matter brought forth? Is this how we treat our FAMILY MEMBERS now in 2013? With all due respect- in all my years, we as faithful Catholics have endured many indiscretions by fellow leaders of the Church, whose actions I know are more troublesome than anything you hold against this man! I stand confident in that statement because I have spent time with the Dawon, observing his heart and soul he shares with his players. His Character has a good moral compass. He is passionate in his pursuit of excellence! I remind you despite his accolades, he is still a man and the first to admint to mistakes but also ready to impart the lesson learned. You can’t deny this or else why have him teach our/your most prized asset?

    I first met Coach D when he was a Student/Athlete at ND. I can relate to the Blue & Gold circulating within his veins. I know the difficulties when navigating the streets of BPT to succeed. He is and was the ideal TEAM MEMBER- He is your professional colleague, worthy of a courtesy that somehow seemingly has not been extended with your rash behavior to fire him instantly. Be careful when your action to bring resolve resembles a deeper evil or intolerance.

    Sons and Daughters you educated both past and present stand behind this man. We embrace him as a significant FAMILY MEMBER. Please do not forsake HIM or US!

    We are Notre Dame, in my day we had the character and fortitude to close ranks and identify issues but handle them all with dignity and class. That’s what you instilled in me and the thousands I can call fellow alumni!

    I don’t apologize for the length, as family should be able to speak their minds openly. I do place my name here now to denote my support for the man and my beloved school: Mr. Stephen J. Almeida Jr.

    I ask you in discharging your duties, do so fairly and openly. You have molded many men and women to become better citizens. None of us are without fault… none of us! Perform a self-assesment on the process in which you utilize to judge and determine an outcome… Was it in haste in this instant? A fair and impartial hearing is all we ask, something yourselves would no less demand!

    SJAJR 86

  43. swcinsider says:

    SPB get your reporters hat on why is this story dead
    scc is doing fine swc needs some help We need the
    basketball reporter from the Weston mess on this

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