Former Tribune sports editor Price joins NIAA Hall of Fame
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Retired sports editor Dave Price represented the best of the best when pacing the sidelines while covering a high school game.
A keen observer with an eye for detail, the former Tahoe Daily Tribune journalist became known for his storytelling and his approach to writing a feature or sometimes a controversial story. Price, who was inducted into the Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Hall of Fame on June 10, was described as a journalist from the “old school” and one of the deans of sportswriters from the Silver State.
Price, along with 14 other inductees that included athletes, coaches and contributors, were originally selected for the Class of 2020, but the dinner and induction at the Peppermill in Reno had been postponed several times because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Inductees from the 28th Hall of Fame class, the largest to date, also included Dan Anderson, Toni (Brown) Fairbanks, Art Collins, Pat Dolan, Rob Hastings, Rollie Hess, Martin “Skip” Houk, Jennifer Hucke, Michelle Palaroan, Richard Pitts, Ed Shepard, Paul Tremayne, Mike Whitemaine and Mitch Woods.
For 47 years before he retired in 2018, Price worked for three area newspapers before finishing his career with The Record-Courier. He preferred a career with the smaller newspapers because they symbolized the true meaning community.
After he learned of his nomination to the Hall of Fame, Price said he was humbled.
“I had benefited from high school sports,” Price said in January 2020. “It was a pathway to a lifetime career, and I always felt I wanted to give back to it.”
Price joins five other journalists including the legendary Ty Cobb, sports editor of the Nevada State Journal from 1938 to 1957. Although he joins an elite group of sports writers, Price said he also remembers some of the greats in Nevada prep athletics.
As a senior student and accomplished cross country runner at South Tahoe High School in the early 1970s, he covered games as a stringer for the Tahoe Daily Tribune and earned 30 cents a column inch for each written article. Price became a part-time sports reporter and then full time on New Year’s Day 1973. At one time or another, he reported on athletic contests played by every high school in the Lake Tahoe basin. Fifteen months later, the 20-year-old Price stepped into the sports editor’s seat, a position he held until 1980 when he accepted a similar position at the Record-Courier.
To many participants in athletics and around the community, Price was known as “Mr. Sports.” He attended hundreds of athletic events from community to high school games, causing coaches to consider Price as one of their own.
As a young sportswriter prowling the sidelines, Price became a fixture at many games or matches, yet his first impression of a game occurred in 1969 at the Stewart Indian School’s basketball tournament.
“It was the first weekend of December and I was there to see South Tahoe,” Price recalled.
The first game on the court, though, pitted Pershing County against Virginia City, a team known at the time as one of the most talented in Northern Nevada. As Virginia City took the court, Price remembers the familiar theme from the Bonanza television program, a 1960s western set near Lake Tahoe and in Virginia City.
“Pershing County looked good with big football players,” Price added.
Likewise, Price said Virginia City coached by Tom Andreasen also had good-sized players, but the Muckers “scrawny” guard stood out as did the team’s stellar defense and fast-break offense. Price said the guard was about his age. The Muckers’ guard dazzled the spectators with his play and nonstop scoring.
“Virginia City won the game, and I picked up the newspaper the next morning,” Price said. “The little guard was Bob Gallagher, who scored 47 points. He could shoot.”
Price said Bob Rudnick was part of the backcourt tandem, and Rudnick and Gallagher were known as the “Gold Dust Twins.” Incidentally, the NIAA inducted Gallagher, who had coached at Elko High School, into the Hall of Fame in 2010.
Price would continue to see outstanding athletic events, figuring he had seen almost every team in Northern Nevada play at one time or another except for a few in the extreme eastern part of the state.
From 1996 to 2006, Price accepted a sports reporter position at the Nevada Appeal where he covered teams from the Carson Valley to Fernley. His beat included coverage of Carson, Douglas, Dayton, Galena, Yerington and Virginia City high schools and occasionally Rite of Passage.
Price moved to Grass Valley in 2006 after accepting the sports editor position at The Union, but Nevada’s capital city beckoned him back when Price returned to the Nevada Appeal the following year. The Great Recession ravaged the newspaper business, however, and he was laid off at the end of 2008. Price didn’t stay away from sports reporting for very long. He helped former sports editor Charles Whisnand launch CarsonSports.com in 2009, but the venture lasted for a year when advertising dollars dried up.
For the first time in his career, Price was not employed by a newspaper until a part-time position as a general assignment reporter opened in 2011 at the Lahontan Valley News in Fallon. Not only did Price write about city hall, the school district and the county commission, but he also had the opportunity to write the occasional sports feature or Greenwave game story.
Price worked with former LVN sports editor Steve Puterski at the LVN, and they provided a good tandem in keeping readers abreast of both the Greenwave and community news and events.
Two years after arriving in Fallon and commuting back and forth to his beloved home in Gardnerville, Price was offered the sports editor position at the Record Courier. He spent the next five years at the R-C before retiring on July 2, 2018.
In September 2018, Price received the Nevada Press Association’s Outstanding Journalist Award, one of the NPA’s highest recognitions.
“I sat next to R-C Sports Editor Dave Price in August 1989 and one day asked him ‘Why spend so long in one place?’ He called over to People Editor Joyce Hollister and repeated the question, and they both laughed. I guess the last laugh was on me,” said Kurt Hildebrand, Record-Courier editor. “Dave and I worked for six years at The R-C and then we both moved to the Nevada Appeal. When Joey Crandall moved on from The R-C, Dave was the only answer for the sports editor slot. In the entire third of a century I’ve known him, Dave has been my favorite writer.”
In his career, Price said he had the privilege to meet many of the state’s coaching icons and athletes from all over Nevada. Among the many he cited were Hugh Gallagher, Joe Sellers, Mike Lommori, Gary Lundergreen, Jackie Giorgi, Bert Cooper, Jerry Hughes and Lynette Davis. Likewise, he met or interviewed scores of athletes, which Price said, are too numerable to mention.
“I also got to meet some who are part of this Hall of Fame class like Rollie Hess (Virginia City basketball player and coach), Skip Houk (referee), Dan Anderson (coach), Richard Pitts umpire and referee) and Mitch Woods (Lowry athlete),” he said. “There are great many great memories that people contributed during a great journey.”
During the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Price offered additional tidbits on some of Nevada’s greatest athletes and coaches. Price also told a story of his own, noting an email Phil Tucker, a former football and baseball coach at Coleville and Smith Valley sent to him after he retired.
Tucker had also served as the commanding officer at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Mountain Warfare Training Center 21 miles northwest of Bridgeport, Calif.
The email caused Price to reflect on his career, and he paraphrased the message.
“It didn’t matter if it was 1A or 4A that you always tried and gave it your best effort … that you were thorough, you were fair and working in the best interest of kids. You were not part of the problem but tried to be part of the solution.”
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