As we continue with our Alumni Spotlight project we sit down with 2002 football alumnus and Hall of Fame inductee Keith Fischer. Keith, who is now the Director of Admissions and head football coach at Newark Academy, credits his Dickinson education for not just preparing him for his professional career but for also helping him develop multiple interests.
Keith grew up in New Jersey but lived abroad multiple times in his childhood so he didn't get involved in football until his high school years. "I wanted to play football in middle school but because of weight restrictions I wasn't able to," Keith said laughing. "I fought my mom and my sophomore year of high school my mom finally let me play and it was love at first sight."
When it came time to pick where he wanted to spend the next four years of his life Keith didn't get any interest until really his senior year as he was putting together an impressive season on the field. "I began to get a picture of where I wanted to go and Dickinson wasn't in the mix," Keith stated. "My coach told me that a Dickinson coach was coming during second period and wanted to meet with me. Second period was English and I wasn't too fond of the teacher so I told my coach on second thought I would go and meet with him."
When looking back on his time as a student at Dickinson Keith reflected back on how his liberal arts education didn't just help him in his area of study but in areas he never thought of. "All of those classes I was exposed to, they all have come in handy in one way or another," Keith stated." "They all led to interests that I have now, some that have become my profession and some that are just hobbies. I believe those have actually led me to a more interesting life."
On the field Keith excelled because of his coaches and mentors in Coach Breaux and Coach Quattrone. "Coach Breaux helped me get a lot more focused and identify the things we needed to do to win, not just play hard, but play hard and have a plan," Keith said. "Coach Quattrone instilled pride in you, regardless of what the score was or who we were playing, you were going to go out and give it your best for yourself and the school."
All of his work on the field led Keith to being inducted into the Dickinson Athletics Hall Of Fame in 2012. "It was so important to me because when I became part of the team, so any people embraced me," Keith said. "When you go through the list of guys that still come back, you just wanted to be like one of those guys. Getting to be introduced and part of a group that dates back to the 1800's and has so many great players, it was something I put a lot into."
However, for Keith the greatest part of his Dickinson experience was the relationships he cultivated, from his friends to his wife and former volleyball player, Tara Fischer (Vasold). "One of the neat things about Dickinson is that after graduation people spread out but we stay in touch," Keith said. "I have all my roommates, teammates, younger people and older people. The one thing we have in common is that we all had great experiences at Dickinson and that connects us together."
When thinking about the one thing that gives Keith so much pride is the people. "When I think about Coach Breaux and Coach Quattrone, Steve Ryder, Scott Shank, my position coach Mick Chronister, and the professors, those are the people I think of," Keith stated. "When I think of Dickinson, I don't think of the buildings, but the people like Dr. Ben James, Stephanie Balmer, Greg Moyer, and Molly Boegel, those are the people that are Dickinson." The ability to have people, who have stayed for so long and connect multiple generations of people together makes this place extremely special and important in Keith's life.
Keith made a immediate impact on the football program, earning the team's Rookie of the Year Award in his first season. He received All-America honors and was the 2002 McAndrews Award winner after being named First-team All-Centennial Conference in 1999, 2000 and 2001. He also earned the team's Wearin' the Red Award in 2000 and 2001, was a two-time captain and a two-time nominee for the Melberger National Player of the Year Award. At graduation he held the conference and school records for career tackles-for-loss, the school record for single season sacks, which still stands, and ranked in the program's top-10 for career sacks and tackles.
Follow the link below to watch Keith's exclusive interview.