Mac Engel

Friends, foes pay tribute to Randy Galloway

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Galloway: “He loved to joke that his criticism of me built his career, but neither one of us ever allowed it to become personal because we understood each other and we are friends.”
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Galloway: “He loved to joke that his criticism of me built his career, but neither one of us ever allowed it to become personal because we understood each other and we are friends.” Star-Telegram

Randy Galloway arrived at the Texas Rangers’ spring training facility in Port Charlotte, Fla., one day in 2002 and said, “I was going to go for a jog this morning, but I got donuts instead.”

Another favorite Galloway story is one he will deny until his final breath, but there was a time when he genuinely liked former Rangers general manager John Hart. Such a claim may be the one thing that draws Randy out of his retirement.

About one month after Hart was hired to be the team’s GM in 2002, the Rangers had a small gathering of beat writers and columnists from the Star-Telegram for dinner at The Ballpark. By the end of that evening, Randy liked Hart.

Not long after this dinner, Randy wrote about some of Hart’s early moves, “What’s there not to like about the Hart attitude? And the guts?”

By the end of May 2002, Randy had nicknamed John Hart “The Empty Golf Shirt.”

The Empty Golf Shirt, Gunsmoke (Barry Switzer), Boss Hogg (Jerry Jones), the Whiny Orange (Texas Longhorns), Zero U (Oklahoma University), Thug It Up (nasty basketball), The Great Satan (baseball agent Scott Boras), Gutless Pigs (teams that roll over), Red J (Jason Garrett), Big Bill (Bill Parcells), “Bet the Four Legged, Not the Two Legged” and Madam No (former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller) are just some of the wonderful phrases the man coined over the years.

I can recite his opening paragraph after the Cowboys lost in the first game of the Houston Texans’ franchise to start the ’02 season: “Fire everybody. Except the owner. Deport him.”

Last Sunday, Randy retired for good to finish a career of more than 50 years of sports journalism and sports entertainment. I reached out to a handful of people who worked with, or were covered by, him over the years.

“Fun, tough, hard-working, uncompromising, fair and a total pain in the ass. Randy Galloway is a truly original personality who always enhanced our Dallas sports experience.” — Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle

“It feels like yesterday that we were in Pompano Beach trying to break into the big leagues, or that you and [former Star-Telegram columnist] Jim Reeves tried to steal my corned beef sandwich. You stirred it up and ruffled some feathers but always showed up the next day. I didn’t always agree with your point of view, but I opened to your column first every day.” — Former Texas Rangers player/general manager and current TV analyst Tom Grieve

“I love Randy. I loved to fight with him. Loved to listen to his show. Loved to give him a hard time. He also gave me one of my all-time fave lines: ‘Always check your hole card.’ And tell him the invite is still open for him to come to his first MAVS game.” — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban

“There are two Randy Galloways — Gallo, the brilliant and biting, fair and biased columnist and radio personality, and Randy, the always honest, surprisingly feminist, really good guy and family man. I had the fortune of knowing both. The former mentored and inspired me; the latter was my friend. There are not enough men like him, in newspapers or in the world at large.” — Former Star-Telegram columnist and Sporting News columnist Jennifer “The Little Ball of Hate” Floyd Engel

“Randy bowed out after setting the all-time record for Jerry Jones columns, and he made you read them all.” — Author and former Sports Illustrated writer Dan Jenkins

“He was the first person to call me after I was fired at The Ticket [about 90 seconds after the announcement was made]. No one had a way of coming up with catch phrases or nicknames like Randy. He backed up what he wrote. He never hid behind his words or a microphone. A lesson all of us in the business should be mindful of.” — Dallas Mavs play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein

“I first met Randy in March of 1964. I was seven months into my first job in television at KTBC-TV in Austin. Randy was covering high school sports for the Dallas Morning News. We met at the Texas high school basketball championships, which were held over three days each year at the old Gregory Gymnasium on the campus at UT. State champs were crowned in five divisions. I’m quite certain that we saw every state championship game, as well as most of the semifinals.

“I had an immediate sense, more because of his gregarious personality than any knowledge I had about his ability as a writer, that if he could write a lick, he was going to have a big career. Turns out that not only could he write well, he talked a pretty good game, also.

“So now, almost 52 years later, he’s retiring and I’m still laboring in the vineyards. I always secretly thought he was a ‘short hitter.’ — CBS play-by-play man and former voice the Dallas Cowboys Verne Lundquist

“I learned more from Randy about reporting and being around people than any five others I’ve been around. He was a genius in listening and getting people to trust him.” — Former Houston Chronicle sports columnist and current columnist Richard Justice

“I always loved his honesty with a flair! Most can’t pull that off. I will miss his personality.” — TCU football coach Gary Patterson

“The best quote he came up with to describe someone that I thought was appropriate was ‘The Empty Golf Shirt’ for John Hart.” — Dallas Stars president Jim Lites

“Burt Hawkins, the original Rangers PR man, once told me that Randy had one writing style: ‘Pick up the biggest rock he can find and throw it through the nearest window.’ Gallo struggled when the newspaper business started becoming computerized and he could never spell. After another of many brutal losses the Rangers took in the ’70s, he turned to me in the press box and asked, ‘How do you spell pukey?’

“When the Star-Telegram decided to see if he might be interested in coming to Fort Worth, I was asked to make the first approach. I’m extremely proud of whatever small part I may have played in his ultimately coming to the Star-Telegram.” — Former Star-Telegram columnist Jim Reeves

“He wrote how he felt. Not to be bombastic. You knew where he stood. That was always refreshing and unmistakably Randy. One of a kind and a Texan through and through.” — Veteran Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls

“Randy had his finger on the pulse of the Metroplex better than any columnist in the country. As a sportswriter turned sports talk show host, he blazed a trail for so many of us who owe him a debt a gratitude.” — Veteran Houston Chronicle NFL writer John McClain

And, finally, this is it from the Man himself:

“Randy was very genuine and skillful in his role as a great promoter of sports at all times. He always saw the big picture, and the teams and the athletes, at all levels in North Texas, benefited from his contributions.

“His writing ability and his personality lifted the profile of the DFW sports market in the eyes of fans and journalists all over the country, and in doing so, he became a leader in his industry on the national level. He loved to joke that his criticism of me built his career, but neither one of us ever allowed it to become personal because we understood each other and we are friends.

“I would add that he was also a leader among his peers because he had great talent, character and integrity.” — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Mac Engel: 817-390-7697, @macengelprof