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Dan Alvino of North Babylon: High school football referee for 35 years 

Dan Alvino, 76, died of COVID-19 complications.

Dan Alvino, 76, died of COVID-19 complications. Credit: Alvino family

As a Long Island high school football referee for 35 years, Dan Alvino forged a reputation for being tough but fair. He earned the respect of players and coaches alike for his no-nonsense approach on the field.

“We appreciated his dedication and passion to the sport of football,” said Tom Combs, the executive director for Section XI, which governs Suffolk high school athletics. “He was a stalwart in our football officials association. He worked all the big games. He retired as a playoff official, which is the goal of all officials and not easy to do.”

Alvino, of North Babylon, died April 14 from complications of COVID-19 at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, his family said. He was 76.

His son, Steven Alvino of West Babylon, said his father spent 13 days in the hospital, including 11 in a coma.

“He was given a 1 percent chance to live, and he rallied for four days. He battled valiantly,” said his daughter, Tracey Alvino of North Babylon. “We thought he’d beat the COVID-19, but he never got off the ventilator. And it was too much for his organs, and his heart and kidneys began to fail.”

In addition to his love of football, Dan Alvino was passionate about his family and his country. Alvino was a decorated military policeman for the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1964 to 1966, said his son.

In 2017, shortly after Colin Kaepernick was making national headlines for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality, Alvino said that if any high school football players chose to kneel during the anthem, he would not referee the game.

"I will not tolerate it, not one bit," Alvino told Newsday at the time. "If players kneel, I walk. … The flag means a lot to me.”

“My dad was a man of conviction,” Steven Alvino said. “He was always clear in what he thought and how he felt."

Alvino was a member of one of the highest-rated officials crews in Section XI. He retired from officiating in December and was honored at the Suffolk County Football Officials banquet.

Alvino officiated high school games on Friday nights and Saturdays, and Sundays were devoted to the fledgling Long Island Flag Football League, for which he was the director of officials from 1992 to 2012.

“He took ragtag officiating in the early days of our league to such a high level,” said George Higgins, the commissioner and founder of the LIFFL. “His crews officiated championships nationwide from Virginia to Texas. He had a huge personality and always had respect and love from the players. Long Island football will never be the same.”

Alvino officiated flag championship games at Washington’s Robert F. Kennedy Stadium and Giants Stadium. “I’ll never forget him getting dressed for those games,” sad his son. “He was so excited, like he was a little kid on Christmas.”

Alvino was born in Brooklyn and graduated from Sheepshead Bay High School in 1962. He met his wife, Claire Corio of Garden City Park, on a blind date arranged by his uncle in Brooklyn in 1964. They were married in 1966 and moved to West Babylon, where he and Claire raised a family of five.

“Our years were filled with huge family parties, especially Christmas Eve celebrations, surrounded by our five grandchildren,” said his wife. “It was all about the great food and gifts and being around one another. He loved his grandchildren more than anything and took great pleasure in watching their activities, from dance recitals to sporting events.”

Alvino worked in the cargo area for the airline Varig and then UTi Worldwide Inc. from 1969 to 2015, when he retired after 46 years.

He also is survived by another son, Joe Alvino of Bohemia, and his brother, Mike Alvino of Island Park.