The Logan Files, Part 1

Anyone who remembers the Kardiac Kids days, remembers Dave Logan, the clutch wide receiver who could always be counted on when a key reception needed to be made. In certain situations, everyone knew the ball was going to go to Logan. But it wouldn't make any difference, as Logan would come down critical catch, anyway. Rich Passan catches up with great Browns alum...

When Dave Logan was catching clutch pass after clutch pass for the Browns for eight seasons in the 1970s and 1980s, little did he realize it was just the beginning of a career that would enable him to become one of the most versatile and recognizable men in the Denver area.

Logan, who turned 54 in February, has fingers in more pies in Denver than Marie Callender. He has become a modern-day Renaissance Man of sorts. At once, he is a highly successful high school football coach, play-by-play radio voice of the NFL's Denver Broncos and co-host of a popular daily four-hour afternoon drive-time talk show on KOA-AM/850.

His resume includes induction into the University of Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame, state high school football championships with three different teams and three Colorado Sportscaster-of-the-Year awards. All this while raising a daughter, Cassidy, as a single parent.

But when Logan stepped gingerly and uncertainly into retirement following the 1984 season, it looked as though the football part of his life, that part that gave him his greatest joy personally and professionally, sought a place in his rearview mirror.

He had grown up in the Denver area and become one of its most famous sons with his athletic prowess. He starred in football, basketball and baseball at Wheat Ridge High School in suburban Lakewood. His unique athletic talents led him to become only the second athlete ever drafted by teams in the National Football League, Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association. Dave Winfield was the other.

The Cincinnati Reds selected Logan as a shortstop out of high school in the 30th round of the 1972 free-agent draft. He chose instead to attend the University of Colorado, where he lettered in football and basketball. The Kansas City (now Sacramento) Kings of the NBA chose him in the ninth round of the 1976 draft, the same year the Browns made him their third-round pick. Football – and Cleveland – won out

The Orange & Brown Report recently caught up with Logan for this two-part interview. In part one, Logan reveals how he made the successful transition to coaching and a career in radio and television.

The OBR: How did the radio thing happen?

Dave Logan: I wasn't sure what I was going to do after being traded by the Browns (to Denver after the 1983 season) and then released the next year by the Broncos. I wasn't sure I was going to go back to another camp. I had a couple of offers the next year. But then I decided I would call an end to the NFL career and wound up doing a part-time radio show for an hour a night. It was kind of a sports talk show on a very small station in Denver. It was three or four years later that the guy who did the play by play for the Broncos for many years passed away. They had an opening on their broadcast team and offered me the deal. That was June of 1990. And I've been doing the Broncos games since the fall of 1990 and also a four-hour talk show every day.

The OBR: When you retired, was radio something you had given any thought to or did it just happen?

DL: Actually, it just kind of happened. I've had two or three opportunities to get kind of get involved in coaching on the NFL level. I had a daughter I was raising and didn't think it was the right timing for that. I really never ever contemplated radio or TV frankly. My college baseball coach (Irv Brown) has been a long-time talk show host in Denver. I kind of fell into that and fortunately for me, I was on a station you couldn't hear after dusk. It went to like 500 watts. So unless you were almost in the parking lot, you couldn't hear me which, at that point, was probably good news. So I was able to learn at a reasonable pace and was doing various things whether it was high school games or small college games. Then I started doing Big 8 football and Big 8 basketball on TV and then I did the Denver Nuggets on TV for about five or six years. Then the Broncos thing started in 1990.

The OBR: At what point did you say, "Hey, this is a lot of fun. This is what I do best. This is what I want to do for a long time?"

D.L.: The sports part of it I really enjoyed because it keeps me close to sports, which I love. I'm kind of a sports nut. So when you get a chance to talk about sports and do it for a living, you're pretty fortunate. I know I have been. And so to break in and have an opportunity to do NFL football on radio – and I would do preseason games on TV – I've been pretty lucky during the course of my career.

The OBR: It's a pretty easy job.

D.L.: You know what? You want to be good at it so you put a little pressure on yourself to try to do a good job. And you figure if you do a good job, you stay employed. I enjoy the NFL part certainly and it keeps me close to the game at that level.

The OBR: You're doing play-by-play now. That's a different animal than analyzing the game. How difficult was that for you?

D.L.: I was a color analyst from 1990 through 1995 and I started doing play by play in 1996 on road games and then in 1997, I took over full time on play by play. You know what? It is different. You have to follow the ball. You can't look off the ball to see what everybody is doing which was different for me. Not a lot of former NFL players get opportunities to do play by play, so I looked at it as a real honor and a challenge and it's something I've really enjoyed.

The OBR: When you first started, did you find yourself watching more as an analyst than a play by play guy?

D.L.: I think I look at the game differently as a play by play guy having played the game and also having been an analyst. I probably combined a little bit of color in my play by play just naturally, but over the course of time, you learn to rely on your color guy and let him do his thing and tell the people how much time is on the clock and where the ball is and who has the ball and what the score is. All the basic fundamentals of doing play by play.

The OBR: Talk about coaching high school football.

D.L.: I've been a head coach for 15 years. Fortunately, when I first started coaching high school football, I was doing a nighttime talk show by myself from 6 to 8. So for me to coach high school football wasn't a factor. But they did move the show into the drive-time portion (of the afternoon) and they've been very gracious with me. I miss a significant amount of the show during the fall. Actually, when I would get done with practice, I would just go in the office at the school, put the headset on and wind up getting on the air about 6 o'clock or so and finishing the show. They've been great about that and even though I've missed a lot of time on the air, they've allowed me to do it.

The OBR: Same way with the current show you do when you get to the football season?

D.L.: Yep. We do a drive-time show 3-7 p.m.

The OBR: It's called . . .

D.L.: The Ride Home. It's really not a sports talk show, although we'll talk sports. It's more of a general talk show.

The OBR: And you do it with a young lady named Lois Melkonian. What's it like working with her and doing that kind of a show?

D.L.: She actually worked at KCBS for 15 years in news. She had never done long format before. So there was a breaking in period. She's very bright and understands radio and she's been fun to work with. We've been together three years and it's been fun.

The OBR: Did you ever in your wildest dreams think, as you were going through school and contemplating your career beyond school that you'd wind up doing what you're doing?

D.L.: I thought about the coaching thing and I didn't exactly know as to what level that would be. But I never thought about the radio and TV thing. I went to school to study business. And when I was through with the NFL, or maybe the NFL was through with me, I wasn't real sure what I wanted to do to tell you the truth. I had a real estate degree and passed a real estate exam and I didn't know whether or not I wanted to get involved in that industry. I just got real lucky with my college baseball coach being a talk show host. He said, "Hey come do a show and let's see what you can do" and it's just kind of fallen in place from that point.

Next: Dave chooses his career path by way of Cleveland.

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