Alumni Profile: Mr. Greg Dufala (‘98)

Alumni Profile: Mr. Greg Dufala (‘98)

Mr. Greg Dufala, Cathedral Prep graduate from the class of 1998, has found great success in his life. Whether it be on the Prep football field, on the gridiron at Duke University, in the professional realm of finance, or at home with his family, Mr. Dufala credits his growth and his passion for life from the lessons he learned while attending Prep.

Before selecting a high school to attend, Mr. Dufala almost never became a Rambler.

“I originally attended Mercyhurst for a few weeks,” Mr. Dufala said. “I followed along with what my siblings did and went there, but I always knew I wanted to go to Prep. I transferred as soon as I could, maybe a month or two into my freshman year.”

Once he arrived at Prep, he knew that it was the right environment for him.

“My favorite thing was the camaraderie and the legacy that I experienced right away,” he said. “Those larger than life teachers and classmates and what they taught me made my experience so special.”

Throughout his four years, Mr. Dufala’s “claim to fame” was his performance on the football field.

“When I played football at Prep, we had some strong independent players,” he said. “As a team though, we didn’t really gel. But I did become prepared to play at the next level, bonded with teammates and coaches, and grew in my strengths and abilities.”

When asked what his fondest memories of football at Prep were, he honed in greatly on team practices, camps, and locker room bonding with his teammates.

“I remember more of the fun times with my friends than I do winning or losing on the field,” he said. “The bonds we shared were prevalent both during football and during school hours as well.”

At the beginning of his junior year, Mr. Dufala was unsure if he would be playing football at the collegiate level. But after his junior season, something in him flipped a switch.

“Once I finished that season, I dedicated myself fully to spending time in the gym, taking supplements, eating right, and doing anything I could to get to the next level,” he said.

In the late 90s, recruiting for college athletics looked a lot different than it does today. Mr. Dufala originally committed to the University of Connecticut, with the hope that the school would join the Big East Conference open his arrival. But when things didn’t go to plan, he turned back to the drawing board.

“When I opened my recruiting back up, there was one coach that continued to call me and said that he liked the agile and athletic way I played,” he said. “I ended up at Duke because he kept pursuing me to go, so I went down [to Duke] for a visit. As soon as I stepped on campus, I knew instantly that it was the place for me, and on the last day of my visit, I got my official offer.

Mr. Dufala recalled that after playing football at Prep and then at Duke, the two experiences had their similarities and differences. More notably, the differences helped him grow as a person.

“At Prep, I was one of the biggest and most recognizable kids at the school: a 6’5” 285-pound linemen who stuck out in a crowd,” Mr. Dufala said. “At Duke, I fell to the bottom of the totem pole, where many guys on my team were bigger, faster, and stronger than I was. I knew I had to work much harder there.”

After four successful years at Duke, Mr. Dufala graduated and pursued a career in finance. He is the current chief financial advisor for is own company, Dufala Financial. Reflecting back, he feels that his role as a Prep alumni has set him up for great success as a businessman.

“What will always mean the most to me is that no matter where I go in the world, someone out there will know Cathedral Prep because of its amazing alumni network and reputation,” he said. “That has benefited me immensely in my professional life.”

Mr. Dufala pictured with his four children (from left to right): Lucas, Lilly, Alex, and Josie.

Mr. Dufala returned back to Erie and married Villa ‘98 graduate Katie Felix. The two now have four children, and their oldest, Josie, is a current senior at Prep.

“I am the proudest today because I never thought my daughter would be a Prep graduate,” he said. “It has been a joy to see her shine in the same environment that I once did.”

Looking back, he is extremely grateful for the time he spent at Prep, and will continue to send the rest of his children to the school in the future.

“I think Prep is the top private educational institution in the area,” Mr. Dufala said. “I want my kids to experience the same culture, teacher relationships, and personal growth that I experienced in my time there. They will be prepared academically because the education Prep offers is incomparable to other schools in Erie. I know Prep will prepare them just as well as it prepared me.”

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