Dan DiCenzo returns to the Wesleyan sidelines for a 10th season and fifth as head coach in 2019. During his first four seasons, the Cardinals went 22-12 with four-consecutive winning campaigns. In 2016, DiCenzo guided Wesleyan to its 14th Little Three title with a 20-0 shutout win over Amherst and a decisive 59-14 victory against Williams.
Last year, the Cardinals finished 5-4, including a 21-14 win over the Ephs. Wesleyan was a force up front defensively, leading the NESCAC in sacks with 29, while also posting a conference-best three defensive touchdowns. Six players earned All-NESCAC honors, including defensive lineman Taj Gooden who enters the 2019 campaign as a D3football.com Preseason All-American. The Cardinals boasted one of the league’s top defenses a year ago as they ranked fourth in both scoring (17.7 points/game) and total defense (267.4 yards/game). Offensively, Wesleyan averaged 23.8 points per game and 312.3 yards per contest.
In 2017, the Cardinals broke 18 program records as they finished the campaign with a 6-3 mark. Offensively, Wesleyan ranked second in the conference in total yards per game (417.8) and passing yards per game (303.0), while averaging 26.7 points to rank fourth-best. On the defensive side of the ball, the Cardinals ranked second in scoring, allowing just 16.1 points per game, and finished third in total yards (305.1) and passing yards (186.1) per game. Wesleyan concluded the season with nine All-Conference honorees, which was highlighted by wide receiver Mike Breuler ’18 being named the NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year. Breuler also earned the Joe Zabilski Award as New England’s top offensive player in Division II/III by The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston and was named a D3football.com All-America Honorable Mention.
In 2016, the Cardinals boasted a well-balanced attack en route to a 6-2 record. Garnering 13 All-NESCAC selections, Wesleyan was primarily led by its stingy defense. The unit finished first in the league in four major defensive categories while ranking fourth in the country in total defense (220.6 yds/game), seventh in scoring (13.1 pts/game), and 12th in both rushing (77.6) and passing (143.0) yards allowed. Additionally, Wesleyan finished second in all of Division III in first downs allowed (94), third in third-down conversion (23.9%), and fourth in red zone defense (47.6%).
On the offensive side of the ball, the 2016 Cardinals finished fourth in the country in kickoff returns (25.3 yds/game) and eighth in time of possession (34:23), while placing in the top three in the NESCAC in several categories; second in passing (237.8 yds/ game), first downs (20.0/game) and third-down conversion (39%), and third in total offense (416 yds/game), scoring (31.5 pts/ game), rushing (178.3 yds/game) and punt returns (10.7 yds/game).
In 2015, DiCenzo’s first season as head coach, the Cardinals posted a 5-3 record behind a well-balanced attack that finished third in the NESCAC in both total offense (384.0 yds/game) and total defense (302.9 yds/game).
Prior to the 2015 campaign, DiCenzo served five seasons as associate head coach and defensive coordinator. In 2014, his defensive squad led NCAA Division III in fewest yards allowed (220.8 yds/ game) en route to a 7-1 season. The 124 yards per game the Cardinals permitted through the air was tops in the NESCAC, while the 96.8 rushing yards yielded per outing was second in the conference. On the other side of the ball, Wesleyan led the NESCAC with 224 points scored, an average of 28.0 per game. In 2013 and 2014, Wesleyan totaled 32 All-Conference players and two players of the year.
DiCenzo is a 2001 graduate of Williams College where he excelled in football and wrestling. He coached at Williams for six seasons, including three as the head wrestling coach. Earning All-NESCAC football honors as well as All-New England honors on the mats as an undergraduate, DiCenzo served as a team captain of both sports and received the Purple Key Award in 2000-01 as the top male athlete at the college. Before returning to Williams for the 2004 football campaign, DiCenzo had coaching stints at both Trinity College and Brown University.
As head wrestling coach at Williams, he led the Ephs to national prominence, culminating in both the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Duals team championship and a NEWA Tournament title in 2009-10. The NEWA tournament title was his second in a row. In his last two seasons, the team finished in the top 15 nationally, and over his three years in charge of the Eph matmen, DiCenzo amassed a cumulative dual-match record of 50-16-1. He coached 11 All-Americans, three of which were National Finalists.
Dan resides in Madison, Conn. with his wife, Rachel, and their sons, Doug and Devon.