Alex Staab – ICC Harbinger
Dustin Fitzpatrick began his ‘announcing’ career reading off the all-school announcements. Although it can’t be confirmed at this point, the Peoria Rivermen home finale April 7 could very well be his last game in the Peoria area, 17 years later, as a 32-year-old.
The thought of being an announcer, or at least something like that, came to Fitzpatrick around his 8th-grade year.
The 2003 Peoria Woodruff graduate and 2007 Monmouth College graduate was contacted when the school needed a Public Address Announcer for their girl’s basketball team, so he obliged. After just his first prep game, with an ICC assistant coach in attendance, he received a phone call from ICC Athletics saying that they would like Fitzpatrick to begin announcing athletic events for the college.
According to Fitzpatrick, the beginning of his tenure as an ICC announcer saw Ed Hammond, now 16-year Voice of Bradley Women’s Basketball on WIRL radio, as the main PA Announcer. Hall-of-Fame Coach Lorene Ramsey was at the helm.
Fitzpatrick says the desire to work such a position comes from the fandom of sports in general. He even talked about a team in particular that is a favorite of his.
“Softball at ICC has probably been my niche. That’s the team that, no matter what, I would drop anything to do something for them,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick said that the reason for his departure from the area is due to his wife getting a new job in the Chicagoland area.
He believes that he’ll miss the people the most.
“It’s Heather (Doty). It’s Tony (Wysinger). It’s Coach (Karrie) Redeker. It’s Sue (Sinclair). It’s all my people with the Chiefs. It’s all my people with the Rivermen.”
Fitzpatrick says that as of now, there are no plans to pursue any further opportunities in or near his new home, which he plans to move to at the start of 2018. He cites the need to figure out the area and the things that are close and not so close.
Although Fitzpatrick’s move comes at the beginning of 2018, he still plans to announce for the Peoria Rivermen through the end of the season, with the home finale 140 days away. He also mentioned the potential for the two sides to have conversations over the summer for the possibility of him remaining the announcer for the team while living in Chicago.
Fitzpatrick will miss his time with the ICC Cougars, but says he’s ready to pass on the torch to someone new, someone that can do it for a “very long time”.