Softball Player Profile: Dan Ziccarelli

Dan Ziccarelli

Larry Wolfe

This guy makes the Energizer Bunny look like Eeyore! To say that Dan Ziccarelli is full of energy is an understatement! A native of the North Side of Chicago, Dan graduated from Buffalo Grove High where he played several sports for the Bisons prior to being injured and then becoming the trainer for the football and basketball teams. He served in the U.S. Army before attending Eastern Illinois University where he graduated with majors in business and military science. Dan remained in the Army Reserve throughout his college years, then returned to active duty as an officer. His last posting was at Fort Huachuca in Southeast Arizona.

Upon completing his service, he became owner of a Golden Corral Steakhouse in Safford. As owner-operator, Dan worked extensive hours and rarely had time for anything else. After eight years, he sold the business to spend more time with his family, which at the time included four kids aged five and under!

He then did a “career about-face,” becoming a stockbroker for Edward Jones. After 10 years with them, he started a consulting business, focusing on restaurants, primarily as a turnaround specialist. He also worked part time as a sports announcer and scoreboard and shot clock operator for Eastern University Community College. Three years later, he became a salesman for a Chevy dealership, even though he knew nothing about cars! He said he once sold 27 cars in 30 days, focusing upon service, a fair price, and honesty, which he says are keys to success in any business. He still says he could not care less about cars! During this time, he also had a landscaping business and a breakfast and lunch place. (I told you he has lots of energy!)

Four years later, he was recruited to become regional sales director of Family Heritage Insurance, an AFLAC-type supplemental insurance carrier. That company is now owned by Globe Life, which gives them much more name recognition. Dan is still working for that company.

Dan and Kathy have a blended family of 8 children and 11 grandchildren. They are fans of pickleball, card games, and movies, plus they ride their bikes daily. Dan is also a big collector of baseball cards and books, primarily those focused upon inspirational and motivational topics, and he’s naturally an avid reader.

Dan joined our softball group less than two years ago and has had the time of his life playing the game he’s always loved. He’s been a slick-fielding first baseman and solid left-handed hitter. Sadly for us and him, Dan and Kathy will be relocating to Sun City Anthem near Florence soon. (Kathy is a realtor who will be nearer her client base, while Dan works out of his home office and can be anywhere.) He says it will be hard to leave the camaraderie of the 80-plus friends he’s made in such a short period of time, but he plans to join our Alumni Association and return periodically to watch some games and mingle with the guys.