Duke Castiglione might not sound like the most Irish name in the world, but don’t be fooled, he says. The sports anchor for Fox 5 News in New York says there’s no doubt that his mother was 100% Irish American and Castiglione grew up surrounded by Irish friends and relations in what the locals of Duxbury, Massachusetts call the Irish Rivera.
“That’s the way my home town became the most Irish town in Massachusetts. But when I’d go out to celebrate St. Patrick’s there were always people who wouldn’t believe I was Irish. I more or less had to spell it out every time.”
Castiglione, 35, a rising star in the world of sports reporting, joined Fox 5 in June 2007 as an anchor, where he also hosts the weekend wrap show Sports Extra on Sundays at 10:30 p.m. Since joining Fox 5 he’s covered major sports stories like the New York Giants’ remarkable Super Bowl win last year, and afterwards he served as host for Fox’s post-game show live from the field after the game. After that he anchored the Giants’ unforgettable New York City victory parade. It’s no wonder he was the recipient of the Associated Press award for Best Sports Show.
Prior to his new post he had been a sports anchor and reporter with WHDH-TV, the NBC affiliate in Boston, and occasionally he guest hosted several television and radio programs for ESPN, including Sports Center and Around the Horn.
A number of big breaking news stories, including an exclusive undercover report with Kirk Radomski, the former New York Mets employee who plead guilty to distributing steroids, prior to the release of the controversial Mitchell Report on steroid abuse in baseball, helped make Castiglione’s reputation.
Focusing on past drug use and future prevention practices within baseball, Castiglione says there’s no doubt that the lessons learned from the exposure will have an impact on the sport for years to come.
“When I was shooting the Radomski interview I understood the story would be big, but I never guessed the magnitude of it at the time. We’ll be talking about it and the Mitchell Report for years to come. It’s a scoop that I’m really proud of,” he says.
But achievements aside, Castiglione is determined that the Irish side of his background finally gets a hearing. Listening to his story, you can see why.
His grandparents lived in Youngstown, Ohio, and they were Irish through and through, he says. “What happened was my great grandparents came over from Ireland and started working in the steel mills in the 1890s. My grandfather had a real good job in those days; he actually mixed the ore that made the steel,” Castiglione says.
“My own mom’s parents were from Mayo, and their names were O’Leary and Bradley. She’s 100% Irish and she’s from Youngstown too. And my grandfather, whose last name was Lowry, is also from Mayo. He was born there in 1923. And I have to tell you he was beaming this week when he heard they were profiling me in the Irish Voice!”
To supplement his impressive Irish bragging rights, Castiglione sometimes tells his listeners that, for a start, he went to an Irish Catholic university, Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts (he graduated in 1996). “Our president was a man named Bartley McFadden, who was actually from Ireland. It was a great school and I remember it fondly,” he says.
“Although I have a very distinct Sicilian last name, the truth is I’m only a quarter Italian. My dad was half German and half Sicilian, and so my Irish grandfather always made a point of reminding me how Irish we were. But my other grandfather and my dad always reminded me how Italian we were!”
“I’ve always been around sports my whole life. I went to my first game at Cleveland Municipal Stadium when I was three months old. I love it more now that I ever did” Castiglione says.
“To me it’s not a job. If you ask 99% of us doing this, you’ll find out we love it.”