Antelope Intros: Roger Del Fiacco and Matt McCormick
Antelope Intros is a recurring GCU Today feature that introduces some of our new employees to the people around them in a way that is fun and informative. Employees are eligible to be featured in the month following their orientation.
ROGER DEL FIACCO
Job title: Associate head coach, ice hockey
Job location: Club athletics department on campus but mostly at AZ Ice on 83rd Avenue in Peoria
What attracted you to GCU? I saw that GCU was going to start a men’s ice hockey program, and hockey has been a passion of mine since I was 4 years old, growing up on the East Side of St. Paul, Minn. I played hockey and have coached for over 40 years at various levels, from kids to Olympic Development Programs. The last seven years I have been coaching high school hockey in Arizona as well as a junior A team. Junior A programs are college-age players hoping to get offers to play college hockey. The program started in 2009, and I was fortunate to be a part of building that organization that has moved several dozen players to college-level programs since its inaugural season.
I met GCU head coach Danny Roy when he was first starting to build the program in late 2015. When the position of GCU assistant coach appeared in the college hockey news, I applied for the position and was fortunate to be chosen by Danny to help him build the GCU program. It has been an incredible experience, and I look forward to continued growth with a women’s program next year as well as an additional men’s team. The response from the college hockey community and potential recruits to GCU academics and athletics has been astounding. I’m excited to be part of it.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I have been retired from my CFO/CPA profession for the last year, and fun for me is working with various youth, high school and college level hockey programs. I recently became involved in the American Special Hockey Association, which is building a hockey team for intellectually challenged individuals; I get a charge out of watching those youngsters learn to skate and potentially play some competitive hockey. I also have grandchildren in Arizona and in Minnesota and spend time with them when I can, usually in the backyard playing a little soccer or baseball — or, yes, even some street hockey.
What are you passionate about? I guess it’s pretty obvious what I’m passionate about, but family, God and my country are the most important things in my life. My wife and I raised five children and have seven grandchildren, and we enjoy family gatherings anytime anywhere.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? As a transplant from Minnesota, I enjoy all of Arizona. I love the zoo, concerts in the park, hiking South Mountain (when my body permits!), Desert Botanical Garden, fireworks at the Peoria Sports Complex on the Fourth of July, air shows at Goodyear, and generally waking up every morning looking outside at my trees and cactus, green lawn, and looking south to the mountains and beautiful clear blue skies and giving thanks for another day on this earth.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I think I’m a pretty open book to everyone who knows me. At 63 years old I would guess the only thing I can think of that most people don’t know about me is that I have not figured out what I want to do when I grow up!
What are you most proud of? Two things: Proud of serving my country during the war in Southeast Asia while in the Air Force and continued service in the Air National Guard. I’m equally proud of celebrating my 41st anniversary this year, raising a family in difficult economic times and seeing them raise families of their own.
Job title: Email marketing specialist
Job location: 27th Avenue
What attracted you to GCU? Several things: (1) The collegiate atmosphere was something that I missed, and when I saw how crazy school spirited this university was, it made me want to be a part of it; (2) GCU is moving proactively forward and growing with a purpose. I want to work at a place that has incredible visionaries and leaders, supports a healthy work-life balance and has highly talented co-workers who deliver excellent work all the time; and (3) the heart that the GCU leadership has for this community when it comes to both staff and students being truly connected with our neighbors.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? Being that I’m still rather new to Arizona, I’m learning more and more of the incredible restaurants that are in the Phoenix metro area and will base what our family does that day around the areas that the eateries are at. As for my outlet, it is anything dealing with sports or being active. I already have been to a Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Coyotes and Suns game as well as hiked some of the local mountains.
What are you passionate about? Sports and the community. Even though I would consider myself an introvert, I love doing life together with people, whether it is through an athletic event or sharing a meal together and getting to know people more than just at “surface level.”
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? Outside of sports events, I love exploring new places with my wife and 3-year-old girl. We enjoyed Kids That Rip in Chandler, Schnepf Farms, hiking Thunderbird Mountain, Topgolf, Dutch Bros and the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park (no relation). We are always up for suggestions!
What are you most proud of? I’m truly humbled and pleased for my family. Just a few months ago we prayed, “God, either help us find joy in our current situation or move us to where we can be used effectively and have a renewed spirit.” Within a few weeks of that prayer, I resigned from my job, put our house on the market, purchased a new (to us) car and moved from Southern California to Phoenix with no job and very little community. This was the first time as a family that we absolutely knew we were doing something the world would say was irresponsible, and yet we knew that it was exactly what we needed to do. And even before we got to Phoenix, we were already connected with people in Phoenix via our California friends who then helped us find our church, our community group, our real estate agent, our temporary residence, multiple job interviews and play dates for my daughter. I share this because I want others to know how much freedom we felt and how much joy we experienced in this process because we got to see first-hand God’s lead. This journey isn’t over by any means, but it has been one of the most rewarding things we have done as a family and also for me, personally.