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Just like his columns, Galloway’s 80th birthday memorable


Randy Galloway may be retired, but he still has plenty to say — as do many who know him best.

In a career that spanned a half a century, Galloway became a legend at his craft as a sportswriter and columnist for both the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, along with his sports talk show on WBAP and ESPN.

On Jan. 19, Gallo as his friends call him, turned 80. Many of those friends and admirers were in attendance at the Isis Theater in The Stockyards that night to reminisce with the man of honor himself in a surprise birthday organized by Jamie Adams.

For those in attendance listening to the memories, jokes, and barbs from the likes of one of the great TV sportscasters Dale Hansen, radio legend Brad Sham, Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and many more — including Galloway, who was sitting on a “throne” slightly above the others, it was a night of side splitting humor with barely enough time in between laughs to catch a breath.

Known for always having an unlit cigar in his mouth, often only removed to take a sip from his favorite beverage, Galloway was an old school sportswriter in many ways. In fact, he had a cooler next to him onstage, dipping into it several times to crack open a cold one.

Yet, Galloway is a legend because of his ability to adapt with whatever the times called for — always saying what was on his mind, of course.

One of his trademark qualities was, if he ripped someone in his article the day before, showing up early at the game or practice the next day so that person could have their say back to him in person. Often it was not pleasant what they had to say, but he was always there so they could say it.

As he was complimenting Galloway for this noble trait, Hansen cracked his infectious smile and said with a chuckle, “Yeah, I don’t do that. I go the opposite direction.”

Aledo football coach Tim Buchanan had one of the night’s funniest moments when he recalled Galloway and former Dallas Cowboy Walt Garrison being asked to perform the coin toss at the first football game in Bearcat Stadium between Aledo and Weatherford.

“Honestly, I didn’t like him very much. He was always criticizing coaches. Hell, I was a coach!” Buchanan said upon first meeting Galloway.

Of course, the two are friends now. Galloway moved to Aledo several years ago.

“But he never criticized a high school player,” Buchanan continued.

Then, Buchanan told the story of the coin toss. He apparently forgot to tell Galloway and Garrison that coaches meet about a half hour before the game and do the real coin flip and that the one right before the game on the field is ceremonial.

Weatherford called tails. The coin landed with tails facing up. However, the official picks it up and said it was heads and Aledo won the toss.

“Randy looks at Walt and says, ‘Damn, Buchanan’s got the officials in his pocket!’” Buchanan said, drawing a roar from the crowd.

At that point, Galloway chimed in, “I wanted to call a bookie!”


For starters

Prior to Galloway taking the stage to be roasted by other sports celebrities, including master of ceremonies and Texas Rangers public address announcing great Chuck Morgan, many videos were shown to the waiting crowd.

Sham: “I guarantee you that Randy Galloway had no intention of living to 80, but here we are.”

Dallas Mavericks radio broadcaster Chuck Cooperstein, who is from Queens, on riding in a car with Galloway: “You should have been in a different life as a New York City cab driver.”

Former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington: “There’s a lot of people that’s in love with you, and I’m one of them.”

Channel 4 sportscaster Mike Doocy relaying Galloway’s answer to starting each day with a run after having numerous beers the night before: “He said, ‘Dooce,’ I wake up, I throw up and I get on with my day. Words to live by.’”

Star-Telegram sports columnist Mac Engel: “I have a vivid recollection we celebrated your 80th birthday 20 years ago,” adding, “He’s always treated everybody like we’re on his level, even though we know inside we’re not.”


The main event

When the curtain came up, Morgan got the live festivities started, telling Galloway, “You’re going to be so fired up you’ll be able to kick extra points for the Cowboys on Sunday.”

The first group of roasters to take the stage were Hansen, Sham, Cooperstein, and Channel 5 sportscaster Newie Scruggs.

Hansen told the story of when he and Galloway took then NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s limousine to the horse track in Mexico. After Tagliabue got out and went in the hotel, at Galloway’s encouraging it seems, they got in the back of the limo and told the driver to take them to track.

When the driver showed some pause, they reminded him that the commissioner likely didn’t want to be disturbed, so he continued on.

“I’m thinking I’m going to get arrested in Mexico City,” Hansen said, adding that he was also thinking, “This is going to be embarrassing when I bet $2. But Galloway lost enough for both of us.”

Galloway then added to the story the commissioner’s reaction the next day, saying he was told by Tagliabue, “You stole my limo. I should be pissed off, but I kinda like you.”

That’s another reason Galloway became a historical figure in his profession. Ian Fitzsimmons, who worked with Galloway on the radio, recalled a time when Mark Cuban called Galloway on the air after Galloway accused the Mavericks’ owner of running up the price when the Rangers were for sale.

Fitzsimmons said at the end of the argument Cuban told Galloway when they saw each other in person — nope, he didn’t threaten to punch him, he offered to buy him a beer. Fitzsimmons noted that only Galloway could get that response.

Ryan followed up on Doocy’s earlier reference to Galloway’s ability to bounce up and start the day with a run.

“I always marveled that it didn’t matter if he drank three six-packs or what, he’d get up every morning and run,” Ryan said. “I believe that’s why he’s still here today.”

Then, the topic of Washington’s hire to guide the Rangers came up. Galloway said his initial thinking was, “That’s gonna last about two weeks.” Then, he said, “Nolan and Ron were the best team in Rangers history.”


Galloway “list”

Over his long career, Galloway was brutally honest in his feelings about folks. If he liked you, well, as Cooperstein said, “There is no more loyal person than Randy Galloway. You want Randy Galloway on your side.”

However, if he didn’t like you, or if he thought you were “an idiot,” that stayed around as well.

One of those is former Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame defensive back and current University of Colorado football coach Deion Sanders. Galloway remembered the time he and Sanders got into an argument in the locker room after a practice.

Later, he was told that someone from CNN filmed the shouting match and it aired. The person who told him complimented him with, “Great argument, Galloway.”

Galloway told the crowd, “I still watch CNN to this day. I keep hoping they’ll replay it.”

Another former Cowboy, wide receiver Terrell Owens, whom Galloway referred to as “Eldorado Owens” is on that list. Owens, renowned for alienating teammates throughout his career, loved the limelight, and his middle name is, in fact, Eldorado.

“I hope I never see that idiot again,” Galloway said, noting that Owens had a middle name that would separate him from the crowd. “I was trying to help the idiot out.”

Continuing the trend with Cowboys players - though there were plenty he did like and praise, such as Troy Aikman and Nate Newton - Galloway recalled the time he bailed former Cowboys quarterback Quincy Carter out of jail after he was busted for possession of marijuana. He said the opportunity was too good to pass up when he was told there was a Cowboy Bail Bonds company.

“I said, ‘Let’s bail his ass out,” Galloway said. “But I also thought, where’s his old teammates? Where’s Jerry (Jones, Cowboys owner)? There’s people in the organization who damn sure had $200 to bail him out.”

Galloway added that the next day he was chided by Star-Telegram management for his decision, not that it would stop Galloway if he thought something was the right thing to do - for humanity or for a good laugh.

Sometimes, however, confrontations would not go the direction one might think. For example, Galloway referred to former Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer as “Gunsmoke” after Switzer forgot he had a pistol in his suitcase at the airport.

When they met at an event, Switzer told him, “I like that name, Gunsmoke.”

After spending years at WBAP, known to some as the “50,000 watt blowtorch” at 820 a.m. Galloway made the switch to KESN, 103.3 FM, ESPN’s local FM affiliate. At night WBAP can be heard from Canada to Costa Rica.

About KESN, Galloway said, “You couldn’t pick that station up at Joe Pool Lake!”

Someone who is on Galloway’s positive list these days is TCU football coach Sonny Dykes, who led the Horned Frogs to the national championship game in his first season. Scruggs recalled how he and Galloway discussed the hiring of Dykes compared to the potential hiring of Sanders.

“How’d that work out?” Galloway said to Scruggs, also issuing a reminder, “In early September Colorado comes to Fort Worth, Texas.”

And he loves the Rangers, the team that helped make him a legend after he started as a baseball beat writer many years ago.

“Nothing would mean more to me than the Rangers winning the world series,” then he looked out in the audience at Dykes and said with a grin, “Well, maybe TCU winning a national championship.”


Let’s do it again

Cooperstein told the crowd to make sure and clear their schedule in a decade.

“I expect him to be here 10 years from now at 90 and we’re doing it all over again,” he said.

Reeves said, “Randy was the king, but he was a good king.”

Which prompted Galloway, in typical fashion, to respond, “Hell, I shouldn't have retired.” 


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