It was a normal fall evening as a Duquesne volleyball game was set to commence, but there was one issue, the computer-generated National Anthem was not working, so public address announcer Dom Errico did what he always did, use his voice.
All of a sudden, out came Errico’s deep, booming voice which received a standing ovation upon completion.
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Unfortunately Dom has passed away at age 42, after nearly two months battling COVID-19 and other complications.
The thing about Dom, for me at least, is that we have been friends for nine years, dating back to the Pittsburgh Power days. During that time we took a trip to Cleveland together and we became very fast friends.
The day Dom had his first opportunity broadcasting for the Pittsburgh Power as part of its Make-A-Wish Night, he invited me up to the press box, and I finally got the chance to see what everyone else would see. The Voice.
It was clear that day that Dom had energized the crowd and even those in the press box, who just so happened to work the day-to-day operations up there for the Pittsburgh Penguins, could not help but be drawn in.
Soon after, the announcing gig was Dom’s and you could tell from the gleam in his eyes and wide smile across his face, that he had the crowd in the palm of his hands.
After the first Power win, Dom, with his wife Libbie in the stands supporting him, uttered a saying which became his signature, “Libbie leave the lights on”.
That friendship only grew when he became a PA announcer for Duquesne. His first game was a Sept. 4, 2014 volleyball contest, after which we ate at the then-Blue Line Grille, as he expressed excitement for the opportunity at Duquesne.
That excitement continued as he called games across many sports and also was on the microphone for the NCAA Tournament on two separate occasions where he rubbed shoulders with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski for a few moments. Notre Dame coach Mike Brey specifically sought Errico out, thanking him for all of the hard work that was coming in the days ahead.
On a personal note, this loss hurts me tremendously. Dom was a colleague of mine at Pittsburgh Sporting News and also pinch-hit for me during a game for DK Pittsburgh Sports.
I am pretty open about my life, but when it comes to the ups and downs of my writing and any Duquesne-related leads I obtain, the circle becomes very small. Dom always was part of that circle.
Towards the end of January, Dom confided to me that he had tested positive for COVID, but chatting with him, remained as sharp as ever.
We still messaged back-and-forth, until the messages stopped.
There were countless times in the last couple of months where I had my messages open, ready to text Dom to ask for his advice or just fill him in about what would happen, only just to realize he was hospitalized and unable to read his messages mere seconds before clicking send.
At Duquesne, Dom treated everyone the same. If it was a student-worker, one of the gameday individuals, someone working the basketball table, an official scorer, sports information director or media, Dom had time for everyone, always smiling and offering support in any way possible, because that was who he was.
What many do not know, is Dom also did a lot of this balancing work at Giant Eagle, something we also share. During the pandemic, Dom shopped for individuals, some higher-risk, gathering their desired items and then delivering it to them, so they would not have to risk leaving their homes in a pandemic. This was yet another example of his selflessness.
At the end of the day, Dom’s family was everything to him as he married Libbie, the love of his life and adored his two sons 10-year-old Nicholas and 5-year-old Anthony.
During a Duquesne men’s soccer game, Dom brought Nicholas along. Nicholas wanted to get into the pregame high-five line as the team headed out of its locker room and onto the field. That day it was hard to tell whether Nicholas had the bigger smile from getting those high fives, or if it was Dom for seeing the photos and then posting them on Facebook when they were made public.
Even during halftime of games this basketball season, we would keep a safe distance and mask up, but would break down what we were thinking. Even when Dom was away from the microphone, he remained just as passionate about Duquesne.
Dom easily exceeded 500 games announced with Duquesne making a graphic on social media commemorating the occasion.
The very last text I sent to him, was as follows: “Keep fighting Dom. We are all behind you. Lots of love and support. Very fortunate to be your friend and always in your corner.”
For those looking to support the Errico family, the GoFundMe campaign remains active and even in pandemic times, every little bit goes a very long way.