PITTSBURGH — Duquesne had a problem most teams face in the fall sports season, two games running at the same time, with plenty of difficulty staffing enough individuals to properly work both games and that was when Dom Errico’s cellphone rang for the first time.
Errico was a public address announcer for the Pittsburgh Power, a team which at the time was a member of the Arena Football League.
On the other end of the call was then-sports information director Ryan Gavatorta asking Errico if he wanted to do the same for soccer.
“I looked as it as an opportunity to get here at Duquesne and announce for a Division I school,” Errico said. “As fate would have it, that first game would turn into a volleyball gig and weeks later it turned into basketball and the NCAA Tournament. It’s just amazing how fast that opportunity came, I am thankful to Ryan for giving me the opportunities, all of these experiences have really shaped who I am as a voice moving forward in my career.”
This past Sunday, Errico announced his 500th contest, a Duquesne women’s soccer match against Massachusetts.
“The best thing about working with Dom was you always knew he was going to put on a great show because he is a natural at entertaining the crowd,” said Gavatorta.
— Duquesne Athletics (@GoDuquesne) October 20, 2019
Errico’s first opportunity to be heard by Gavatorta came as part of Make-A-Wish Night, a promotion hosted by the Pittsburgh Power giving fans and supporters a chance to have their wish granted. Errico wanted to announce a quarter and his request was granted.
Gavatorta heard Errico, as did Billy Wareham who is in charge of gameday presentation for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Power media relations official Rob Goodman. The trio immediately were drawn to his voice as were the Power fans in attendance that night.
“You’re used to hearing your voice in an arena setting, but that sound system was miles ahead of anything I had done before,” Errico said. “That was the first time I heard my voice. I knew I could do that gig and I know the fan response that night was very favorable. I did not want to steal a gig from my predecessor, but you believe in yourself and that you can do it. That night was the first night that I am doing what I want to do. It led to a fill-in gig when they needed an announcer and then a full-time gig the year after that.”
Errico’s belief was guided early on by friends and family alike who felt he had the voice to succeed but for the man himself it did not come until he went to the Connecticut School of Broadcasting for an off-the-street audition and the evaluator stated that given the circumstances it was the best audition he had seen.
Though Errico joked that perhaps they wanted both his money and attendance at CSB he came away impressed that they thought highly of him.
Errico’s involvement in soccer began to open up other windows and shortly after he began to be behind the microphone for volleyball matches.
On one such occasion, the audio for the National Anthem was not working and Errico improved, quickly taking the mic and belting out a rendition that surprised coach Steve Opperman. Though those in attendance may not have noticed much difference as the adjustment was a quick one.
Lacey Levers enjoyed her volleyball career at Duquesne and credited Errico’s announcing as being part of that experience.
“Being an athlete, there was no better feeling than hearing a point or a kill being announced and he always did so with such enthusiasm and passion and that brings a whole other level to the gym,” she said. “You could see the fans and even the players get completely hyped up after his calls. Anytime I think back to Duquesne and my time as a student athlete, I can still hear ‘KILLLLLLL BY LACEY LEVERS’ and can immediately feel that feeling of accomplishment and adrenaline. I have yet to meet or hear another announcer who brings the same energy to a gym and sports team.”
Being Duquesne’s announcer has its perks for Errico as he is part of the gameday experience fans expect to see when they attend a contest. Errico believes it truly takes a team effort and he relies heavily on his spotters to assist him as a detached retina at eight-years-old forced a loss of depth perception in both eyes. Even so, Errico does not miss a beat.
One of the biggest perks for Errico was getting to call two different NCAA Tournaments when games were played at PPG Paints Arena.
Whether he needed reminded or not, the signs were there that this was a big deal. The press room was in a different location, the media meals were outside of the room and even the bathrooms were in a completely different location.
“It was an event I had college and high school friends tagging me in screenshots and you realize there are not too many sporting events in the country bigger than the NCAA Tournament,” said Errico. “You realize that a million people or more are tuned in watching the game, and though I am a small part of that in the background, you may be able to hear my three call. I am thankful Duquesne gives me this chance and I am definitely thrilled to be here.”
Since his early days at Duquesne, Dom has become the voice for all university sports including football and both men’s and women’s basketball.
Within the past couple of seasons, Errico has been given more latitude in turns of trying to pump up the crowd which is just fine by him, since it brings those days with the Pittsburgh Power back into mind. The fan feedback appears to be positive.
Whether it is a long goal call, a volleyball kill, a touchdown or even a t-shirt toss, Errico tries to make each action his own and one which fans can get behind.
“I think Dom is a great guy who has established an identity as being the voice of Duquesne,” Duquesne women’s basketball coach Dan Burt said. “That’s been because of his consistency, work ethic and love for doing what he does.”
As he sat back in the Rooney Field press box prior to a Duquesne event, a smile formed across Errico’s face as he explained that really his job is simple and he is very thankful for it.
“All along, I still feel it is Dom Errico sitting there, watching a sporting event and getting to do what I love to do,” he said. “All I have to do is push that button every once in a while. It’s fun, I don’t feel like it is a job and it makes me happy.”