Dan DiCenzo '01 Fifth Eph Inducted in NEWA Hall of Fame
Sunday, January 25, 2015
|Ryan Malo '11
(l.), Dan DiCenzo '01,
and Carl Breitenstein '10
SPRINGFIELD, MA – At the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Duals Sun., Jan. 25 former Eph standout wrestler and coach Dan DiCenzo was inducted into the NEWA Hall of Fame. diCenzo's contributions to New England wrestling are many and he was fittingly honored as a Special Contributor as a former wrestler, coach, administrator, and now the NEWA Director of Information.
A four-year letterman for the Ephs, DiCenzo was an All-New England performer before joining the Eph coaching staff.
Dan DiCenzo served three years as an assistant coach and three years as the Eph head coach (2007-2010). DiCenzo authored a career record of 50-16-1 including a school best 20 wins when his 2009-10 Ephs went 20-3.
Under DiCenzo the Ephs finished in the top five at the NEWA Championships every year. The Ephs won the 2009 and 2010 NEWA Championships and finished a school-best 10th at the 2009 NCAA Championships. DiCenzo's Ephs also won the NEWA Duals in 2010.
At the end of the 2005-06 season DiCenzo was named the NEWA Assistant Coach of the Year. In 2009 he was named the NEWA Coach of the Year one year after receiving the national Division III Bob Bubb Coaching Excellence Award.
DiCenzo coached 40 Ephs who earned All-NEWA honors, nine Eph All-Americans, and three NCAA finalists in his six-year tenure.
In the classroom DiCenzo's Ephs finished in the top ten nationally in team GPA all six years and in 2008, 2009 & 2010 the Ephs posted the top team GPA. Additionally, 18 Ephs earned National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Scholar All-America honors.
Seven Ephs reached the 100-win plateau under DiCenzo and Ryan Malo '11 set the NCAA Division III record for most pins in a season (38) and then Malo finished his career with the NCAA Division III record for career pins (82).
As a senior at Williams, DiCenzo was an All-NESCAC football player and All-New England wrestler and captained both teams. He also won the College's prestigious Purple Key Award given to the male athlete of the year at Williams.
The Ephs with Dan DiCenzo coaching:
2004-2005 – 5th in NEWA, 12th at NCAAs
2005-2006 – 5th in NEWA, 35th at NCAAs
2006-2007 – 5th in NEWA, 30th at NCAAs
2007-2008 – 3rd in NEWA, 47th at NCAAs
2008-2009 – 1st in NEWA, 10th at NCAAs
2009-2010 – 1st in NEWA, 23rd at NCAAs
Currently DiCenzo serves as the Associate Head Coach of Football (Defensive Coordinator & Defensive Backs) at Wesleyan University and as the NEWA Director of Information.
Jon Dolan '07 Fourth Eph Inducted Into NEWA Hall of Fame
|L to R: Scott
Honecker, Jon Dolan &
Joe Pistone (USM)
Sunday, January 27, 2013 Jon Dolan will become the fourth Eph wrestler inducted into the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Hall of Fame at ceremonies being held in conjunction with the NEWA Duals at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI.
Dolan, who competed at 165 and 174, joins Bill Sullivan '93, Jamall Pollock '06, and Tom Prairie '06 in the NEWA Hall of Fame.
A Massachusetts' all-state champ in 2002 for coaches Tim O'Keefe and George Bossi at Lowell High School, Dolan chose to attend Williams after securing a national runner-up finish for Phillips Exeter Academy in his post-graduate year in 2003.
Dolan then proceeded to fashion one of the most impressive careers in the history of both Williams and the NEWA. His freshman season at Williams was lost to injury, but as a sophomore he turned in a 7th place finish at the NCAA tournament at 165 lbs.
For both his junior and senior seasons he competed at 174 where he produced a 6th place finish at the NCAAs as a junior and then capped his career with a fourth place finish in his final year.
Under co-head coaches Raphael Vega and Dan Dicenzo, Dolan won the NEWA championship his final three years at Williams, qualifying him for the NCAA tournament, where he posted three top seven finishes to secure All-American recognition.
Dolan was also a standout on the gridiron for the Ephs. A three-year starter at linebacker, Dolan captained the undefeated Williams squad his senior year in 2006 and was second on the team in tackles with 21 solos and 15 assists.
Each year Dolan had to drop from his football weight of 195 to his wrestling weights of 164 and 179. Not only did Dolan have to lose weight, but also it was critical that he also maintain his strength. See "Losing to Win," below which chronicles Dolan's Williams career during his senior year making the transition from football to wrestling losing weight, but not strength.
Currently Dolan is a Product Manager for Suffolk Construction, one of the nation's largest contracting firms.
Dolan resides in Boston with his wife Meghan.
Tom Prairie '05 Named to NEWA Hall of Fame
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- Three is a significant number in Tommy Prairie's Williams wrestling career.
Three times Prairie was a New England champion at 125. Three times he finished fourth or higher at the NCAA Championships earning him All-America honors, three times. He is the first Eph wrestler to earn All-America honors three consecutive years.
Another three is now being entered onto Tommy Prairie's wrestling resume at Williams as he will become the third Eph inducted into the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Hall of Fame at the 2010 NEWA Championships being held at Western New England College Springfield, MA), February 20-21.
Prairie came to Williams College from Delran [HS] NJ and after a post-graduate year at Blair Academy. His second place finish nationally in 2005 was the first appearance in an NCAA final by an Eph. Prairie's second place finish, best by an Eph, was equaled last winter by junior Ryan Malo (197).
In 114 matches at Williams Prairie registered a glittering record of 106-8 (.930), giving him the highest winning percentage among Ephs with 100 career wins.
"It's great to see him in the profession," said former Eph wrestling head coach and current head football coach, Mike Whalen. "I'm not sure he came to Williams with the idea of becoming a coach, but once he thought about it and mentioned an interest he was highly sought after. Head coaches looking for assistants in wrestling want a guy who can get in the room and compete."
Upon graduating from Williams Prairie took an assistant's position at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee where he spent a year and also earned a master's degree in business with honors. From there Prairie accepted the head coaching position at Plymouth State University three years ago.
In his second season at Plymouth State Prairie led the Panthers to a record of 10-8, marking the first time since 1998-99 that Plymouth had won 10 matches in a season. The 2008-09 season was also the first winning season for the Panthers since 2001-02.
Prairie, in fact, did not intend to become a wrestling coach when he enrolled at Williams. "I really had no idea what I wanted to do when I entered and when I graduated," said Prairie. "I used wrestling to help me get in [to Williams] and then get a free Master's [Cumberland University]. I just tried to use the sport to get as far as I could to set myself up for success."
"In graduate school I really enjoyed coaching, but never really thought I would be able to do it long term," noted Prairie. "I always really enjoyed that aspect of the sport, but there exist very few full-time positions so it was difficult to break into the sport."
"Tommy was the most talented wrestler I coached here," stated Whalen. "He had the ability to score a lot of points in a short amount of time – he was just explosive. He loved the sport and was always looking to improve."
His first season at Williams ended with a concussion, after having finished his last two high school seasons with a concussion. Prairie, Whalen is quick to point out might have become the first Eph to compete at the NCAAs every year. "He had an unfortunate late season injury his first year or he might have been the first Williams wrestler to go to the NCAAs four years in a row."
While Prairie had a sensational career at Williams, losing just 8 times in 114 matches, he almost ended his career before his sophomore year. "I worried about the long term effects," he stated. "I had post-concussion syndrome my entire senior spring and summer of high school where I could not run or do any contact and I worried about repeating that."
Prairie did return to competition his sophomore year and as it would turn out it was the most challenging and yet most rewarding year of his career.
"Tommy went out to nationals and he just expected to win," recalled Whalen. "He was up 9-1 in his first match and the next thing you know he got pinned and that was a real fork in the road for him. He had a decision to make and fortunately he made the right one. At first he did not want to wrestle any more, but after talking about it he decided to enter the wrestle backs and he basically pinned his way back to a 3rd place finish."
Prairie calls his sophomore year at Williams his personal Eph highlight. "It was wrestling back for third my sophomore year," Prairie stated. "That was the only season in my 17 years of competing that I finished a season with a win. I really proved to myself that I could compete at the national level."
"That experience really helped Tommy mature and become a true leader on the team," Whalen declared. "He went on to captain the team both his junior and senior years and won two more New England titles and had two more All-American finishes."
The victory Prairie claimed over himself at nationals, as a sophomore was pivotal in his career and his life. "I think my time at Williams showed me that if I set a goal, work towards the goal, I can achieve anything," commented Prairie.
Although my goals have changed I think that really sticks true to all aspects of my life now."
"Tommy Prairie had one of the most impressive careers of any Williams athlete in the school's history, noted current Eph head wrestling coach Dan DiCenzo. "He competed on the national level through out his career and had total of 106 wins and 8 losses. That is an unbelievable accomplishment. Tommy helped put Williams wrestling on the national scene and he is going to do a great job with the wrestling program at Plymouth State University. He is the best clinician in the New England area and one of the best Division III wrestlers ever."
Jamall Pollock '96 Named to NECCWA Hall of Fame
football as well
Jamall Pollock '96 was inducted into the New England Collegiate Conference Wrestling Association (NCCWA) Hall of Fame in February of 2007. Pollock was a three-time New England champion and earned All-America honors twice. He is the first Eph to be named to the NECCWA Hall of Fame.
A four-year letterman, Pollock, graduated as one of the most prolific wrestlers in Williams history. He was a four-time All-New England performer as well as a four-time New England finalist. He posted a career mark of 104-14. Pollock was the first Williams wrestler to reach the 100 win milestone.
As a freshman Pollock recorded an individual record of 23-4 and
finished Ephs' second at the NECCWA championships at 158 pounds.
The Ephs finished with a 12-1 regular season record good for a
second place team finish in the conference. The Ephs also received
their first national team ranking (20th).
Pollock's sophomore season he posted an unblemished record -- 25-0 -- including a first place finish at the NECCWA championships at 150 pounds.
In his junior year Pollock went 27-5 and again won at the NECCWA conference championships, but this time at 158 pounds. He went on to place eighth at the NCAA Div. 3 championships to earn All-American honors. The Eph team finished with a dual meet record of 13-0. It was the first undefeated season at Williams since 1949. The Ephs won the New England Championships for the first time in school history and were ranked as high as 16th nationally.
In his final year Pollock compiled a record of 29-5. He again won at the NECCWA conference championships, this time at 167 pounds. Pollock then went on to earn his second All-American honor with a fifth place finish at the NCAA Div. 3 championships.
Pollock was elected captain of the Eph wrestling team in both his junior and senior years and was also chosen to tour in the Ukraine as a Division 3 All-Star upon graduation.
In addition to being an outstanding wrestler, Pollock was also a four-year letterman in football and he still holds the Eph single season rushing record of 1,293 yards. As a senior Pollock was named the ECAC New England Football Player of the Year, the NESCAC Offensive Football Player of the year, a New England Football Writers' Division II/III All-Star and was named to the Hewlett-Packard Division III All-America Team.
After College Pollock served as a high school teacher and coach in New Jersey and he currently works as a curriculum coordinator for a non-profit after school program for students of color in the New York City area.
Bill Sullivan '93 inducted into NEWA Hall of Fame in 2009
Bill Sullivan was a 3-time All NEWA Wrestler and a 3-time conference finalist. After being injured his freshman year he went on take second in the NEWA Championships as a sophomore (134), first as a junior at 126, and second his senior season at 134. Sullivan was a two-year captain for the Ephs as a junior and senior, a 2-time NCAA Qualifier, earning All-American honors as a senior with an eighth place finish at 134.
During his sophomore year Sullivan finished second at the NEWAs to 4-time New England Champion Brian Allen of RIC. Sullivan defeated Allen during the season in the dual meet between the two schools and was the #1 seed at the NEWA Tournament. At the time the NEWA only sent the 10 champions and one wild card to the NCAA Tournament and Sullivan did not receive the wild card from the NEWA coaches.
As a junior Sullivan won the NEWA title at 126 pounds and also earned Scholar All – American Honors.
For his senior year Sullivan went back up to 134 for the NEWA Tournament, where he lost in the finals in overtime to 3-time New England Champion Bill Cotter. Cotter then went on to become the first NCAA Champion ever out of the New England Region. Sullivan was awarded the one wild card from the conference coaches and he made the most of his opportunity by becoming an All-American with an eighth-place finish.
Sullivan finished an extremely impressive career at Williams with an overall record of 65-15. He and his class were a huge part of turning the Williams College wrestling program into a winner. After struggles for the program in the 80s, Sullivan led the Ephs to four successful years that eventually resulted in Williams winning its first NEWA title in 1995.
Sullivan's resume includes some outstanding wins. During his career at Williams, he beat; Kevin Sheehan of PSU (2-time All-American, 2-time NEWA Champ, and NEWA Hall of Fame Inductee), Ken Staten (All-American, NEWA Hall of Fame Inductee), Sean Kiley of Springfield (Division II All-American before Springfield moved to Division III), Chris Troy (3-time New England Finalist, who went up to 142 his senior year and won the NEWA tournament after losing to Sullivan during the year, as well as the previously mentioned Brian Allen of RIC (4-time NEWA Champ, All-American, and NEWA Hall of Fame Inductee).
After College, Sullivan received his MBA and MS in Accounting from Northeastern University and earned his CPA License. He is currently the Director of Finance at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, a development stage biopharmaceutical company committed to the innovation of life-enhancing medicines for the treatment of autoimmune disease and cancer.
Sullivan lives in North Andover, Massachusetts with his wife Amanda, their twins, Ryan and Kenna and their dog Rasel. On top of his full-time job, Sullivan has been a youth wrestling coach for the last seven years in North Andover, one of the largest and most successful youth wrestling programs in Massachusetts.