Dan DiCenzo returns to the Wesleyan sidelines for an eighth season, and third as head coach in 2017. The Cardinals posted back-to-back winning campaigns in his first two seasons at the helm of the program, and are 25-7 in the NESCAC the past four years. They also won the Little Three Championship a year ago, and have now won it twice in the last four seasons.
The 2016 squad excelled on both sides of the ball all season – garnering 13 All-NESCAC selections – but was led by its stingy defense. Last year’s 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 2013-2014, Wesleyan had 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 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.
In addition to his football coaching assignment at Wesleyan, DiCenzo assists Head Wrestling Coach Drew Black in his duties as the athletic department’s strength and conditioning coach. He resides in Madison, Conn. with his wife, Rachel and their first child, Doug.