The winds of change have hit the John Carroll football team for the second consecutive season.
Associate head coach and senior offensive coordinator Ron Dolciato is leaving the program after 24 years as an assistant for the Blue Streaks. He has accepted the head coaching position at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa.
Dolciato graduated from JCU in 1990 after a solid career in a Blue Streaks uniform. As a senior in 1989, he was selected honorable mention All-OAC and GTE Academic All-American. During his playing career, he earned four varsity letters.
As a coach, he presided over some of the strongest offenses in JCU football history. As offensive coordinator since 2001, his teams set two national offensive records as well as 59 team and individual school records.
He received many accolades during his time as offensive coordinator. In 2002, he was named the 2002 Assistant Coach of the Year for his work on a JCU team that reached the national semifinals. Dolciato was also named the 2011 Ohio Athletic Conference Assistant of the Year.
Dolciato served his alma mater as the Director of Exercise Science in the Department of Education and Allied Studies. In 2010, he earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in Leadership for Higher Education.
In recent years, Dolciato had applied for multiple jobs across the country, searching for his dream to build his own program. This offseason, St. Vincent came calling.
“It’s not John Carroll, but it shares many of the same values as this place,” Dolciato said. “It’s a high academic place that is similar.”
His new scenery will provide a unique challenge. St. Vincent has not won a game since Nov. 12, 2011. Two consecutive winless seasons forced a change and afforded Dolciato the opportunity to step forward and lead his own team.
“I was on the [JCU] team as a sophomore when Tony DeCarlo took over and I didn’t even know Division III had playoffs,” remembered Dolciato. “Three years later, I looked back at that during our playoff run and couldn’t imagine the success we had.”
He credits that experience as one of the things he will draw on as St. Vincent’s head coach. “I felt like I really would have regretted it if I didn’t step forward,” Dolciato said. “Our goal is to get better on a weekly basis.”
Senior defensive back Randy Greenwood showed disappointment upon hearing of Dolciato’s departure, but expressed confidence that he could do great things as a head coach.
“St. Vincent got an amazing deal in acquiring Coach [Dolciato],” said Greenwood. “He has been around the game and coaches with great passion, love and enthusiasm for the game.”
The JCU coaching staff could not be reached for comment.
Dolciato also expressed excitement about the opportunity to be less than three hours from Cleveland, the city he calls home.
He also looks forward to working at a school that is the training camp site for the Pittsburgh Steelers. St. Vincent is home to seven practice fields that Dolciato said he is excited to take advantage of.
The Blue Streaks open up the 2014 and 2015 football seasons against Dolciato and his St. Vincent Bearcats.
“Let’s face it, [JCU] is my home even though I’m going on to do something new,” said Dolciato. “There is nothing but love from me for everyone at JCU after all these years.”