Dominic Denio

A memoir to Dominic J. Denio

The following summary to highlight the life of Dominic Denio was taken from the Times-Union, St. Bonaventure University, and Troy Record as well as interviews from Capital District members including XXX.

Dominic 'Dom' Denio was a legend on and off the football field. As an official for 43 years within the Capital District Football Officials Association, Dom certainly had many great stories but his lasting legacy was passing on his knowledge to the next generation of officials.  Dom was a school teacher for 35 years, working at both the LaSalle Institute and Schenectady, teaching business to aspiring young minds.  This teaching mindset naturally led Dom to help his fellow officials continue to strive to improve their skills.

Dom was born in Watervliet in 1919, but he went on to become a well-known figure in Rensselaer County. His resume is a crowded one that reveals a man deeply involved in areas ranging from professional to athletic to civic. "He was involved in many, many different types of activities, and always seemed to have the energy to accomplish all those activities and to do them very well," said John, one of his nine sons. He said his father's initial ventures in sports, where he put forth award-winning effort on the basketball court and football field in college, "set the pace for everything else." Denio is a member of St. Bonaventure University's Hall of Fame. John Denio said his father was able to secure a football scholarship at the school--the only way he could afford attending--without even having played the sport at Watervliet High. After college, Denio served with the U.S. Army in Europe until 1945, when he returned to the Capital District and began teaching business soon after. He taught high school students first at La Salle Institute in Troy and later at Linton High School in Schenectady. At both schools, he was active in coaching basketball and football. He also officiated both sports and served as parks and recreation director for Watervliet and Green Island. Denio was a member of the Capital Region's inaugural Football Hall of Fame class. 

"When you went out on the court with Dom Denio, you knew the game would be under control," said longtime friend Will Doran, who played three sports under Denio, when he coached at La Salle Institute. The two went on to officiate many games together and were inducted into the Capital Region Football Hall of Fame's inaugural class, last August. Denio would joke with Doran about a time when the two spent 12 consecutive nights refereeing basketball games, even speaking about it just a few weeks ago. "Whenever there was a playoff or championship game, Dom was there," Doran said. "There was only one Dom Denio." He did it all while serving as the patriarch of a family with 18 children, evenly split between boys and girls. John Denio said his father was tough on discipline but always had the right message. "He did it with care and with the right objectives in mind--do your best, put for your most honest effort," he said. Denio served as a Democrat on the Rensselaer County Legislature from 1974 to 1989 representing Brunswick, Pittstown and Schaghticoke. He was a longtime resident of Melrose. Ken Herrington, a legislator who served with Denio in the 1980s, noted he was popular as a Democrat in a district that typically favored Republicans. "Dom was very well-known throughout the district from coaching and refereeing school sports and he had a great support network from his family. You could always count on Dom to run very strong on Election Day," Herrington said. 

"He was probably the most respected official in basketball and football ever in the Capital District," said Rene LeRoux, founder of the Capital District Basketball Hall of Fame.