Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology Football program just won the Seaboard Conference in a season to remember. Finishing their championship year with 6 wins and 2 losses after two cancelations due to Covid, including victories over Franklin and Marshall College and Sussex County, the Bulldogs had a season that they will never forget. Head Coach Dennis Iezzi has done a marvelous job leading the way, not only on the field but in the classroom as well. After having the privilege of talking with him, it is clear that while winning on the field is important, his kids' education comes first. Coach Iezzi has also been responsible for numerous upgrades around the facility and helping kids achieve scholarships. He was kind enough to take time out of his crazy schedule to speak with me on the Bulldogs Championship season, his coaching background and rebuilding from a lost season thanks to COVID-19.
CF: What interested you in taking this job?
Coach Dennis Iezzi: I worked at Thaddeus Stevens College in 2013 and 2014 as the Defensive Coordinator and Academic Support. Attracted to and worked to carry out the mission of the school, set by Thaddeus Stevens, the man. I felt a connection to the students, the instructors and tutors who work hard in supporting and helping one another. It is a special place. I Left to work at my Alma Mater but thought, if the Head Coaching job at Thaddeus Stevens College would open, I would like to return. It happened in 2019.
CF: How hard has it been rebounding back from a year off due to COVID at a 2-year school?
Coach Iezzi; Thought of this 2-fold. One it would be like starting over, due to the fact we are a 2-year institution. Secondly, the challenge to getting back to working 24-7. But it seems to have all come together. Our players and coaching staff made it happen.
CF: What makes Thaddeus Stevens College such a unique school.
Coach Iezzi: Thaddeus Stevens College also can be a place to help our students CHANGE THEIR WORLD. We talk about this all the time. But one must understand that it will take a lot of sacrifice and hard work. I always say, you must agree to make the next 2 years the hardest working years in your life. Also, our mission of, we are a School of Diversity, not only in race, ethnicity but socio-economic status. We have students from 2 income families and those from struggling one-income families, with special and diverse backgrounds. We embrace this and love the opportunity to learn from one another. This season our kids didn’t know one another reporting to camp, and it was awesome to watch them come together and develop chemistry and caring to the point that we became close and united as ONE.
CF: Tell us more about your coaching and playing background?
Coach Iezzi: My playing background occurred years ago; played football, basketball and baseball at Daniel Boone HS. Attended Albright College, Played Football 4-years and Basketball 1 year. Began coaching at Donegal HS with my mentor Gayne Deshler. Extremely fortunate to learn from him. Became his Defensive Coach and moved to Bermudian Springs High School 8 years later to become their Head Coach. Left after 2 years and went to Middletown HS, was their Head Coach for 14 years. Also became their Assistant Principal and the head Principal when I stepped down and remained there for 6 more years as Principal. Got back into coaching at Exeter Township HS for 5 years as Assistant Principal and Head Coach. Was offered a job at Kutztown University and became their Defensive Coach for the last 3 years there. Coached there for 7 years.
CF: Your team won the Seaboard Conference what did the celebration entail?
Coach Iezzi: The team was able to experience the rewards of their hard work. The entire college community shared this accomplishment. The championship was celebrated on social media where students, parents, alumni and the supporters of the College were able to share their congratulations. Team members were also awarded championship tee shirts. Championship Rings will be coming.
CF: What is the process like trying to help your players get recruited into 4-year schools?
Coach Iezzi: Our mission first is to earn an Associate Degree and go to work. However, some of our players delay going to work and play again getting a Bachelor’s Degree.
CF: Recruiting for a two-year school certainly has its challenges, what is your pitch to high school kids?
Coach Iezzi: We are the #1 Tech College in PA and ranked in the top 10 in 2-year colleges in the US. Our students graduate with an average of nearly 13 job offers per graduate, making on average nearly $43,000 a year first day on the job.
CF: You have accomplished so much in your coaching career do you have a retirement plan in sight?
Coach Iezzi: I believe this is it, Coaching is not a job, it’s a life-style. Therefore, I choose Coaching and helping young men learn life skills that will make them successful both on and off the field.
Coach Iezzi and his staff are already back at off-season training, recruiting and game planning for next season. You can see from our interview that he has a non-stop motor and genuinely cares about his players’ education. Regardless of when he does decide to retire, he will leave the Bulldogs in great shape for their future. If you haven’t already started to take notice please do, being a college football fan myself they are the best ticket in town.