WHEATLAND – Dave Walsh, has worked in radio since he graduated from San Diego State University, but his most famous stint was with the University of Wyoming as the voice of the Cowboys for the past 38 years.
Now since retired, Walsh, 69, has not been able to walk away from radio completely as he still does the “Cowboy Capsule” before both football and basketball UW games and also writes and records a segment that is syndicated throughout Wyoming on 26 stations called “Wonders of Wyoming.”
Walsh who was invited by friend and Wheatland entrepreneur Chuck Brown accepted the invitation and was seen riding with his wife in one of Brown’s agricultural carriages last Saturday morning in the Platte County Fair parade.
“My good friend asked me to come over to ride in the parade,” Walsh said. “Chuck Brown, I’ve known him forever. Chuck was a trustee for many, many years. It might have been a Cowboy Joe club meeting I met him.”
Walsh looking remarkable for his age says that a healthy silver lifestyle with lots of clean air is how he stays so active.
“I knew I wanted to be a sportscaster since I was about 8 years old,” Walsh said. “I’d fall asleep at night listening to a little transistor radio with the voices of Chick Hearn doing basketball and Vin Scully broadcasting for the Dodgers. Once I realized that I wasn’t going to be an athlete, then I knew that’s who I wanted to be.”
“I grew up in San Diego, California,” Walsh said. “I graduated from Chula Vista High School and then I went to San Diego State. Right after that in 1975 I went out and got my first radio job just over the mountains and down into the valley desert town of Brawley, California.”
When asked about that first job and radio station that he worked in, he laughed as he remembered to “back in the day,” before computers and high tech radio stations.
“It was an agricultural area,” Walsh said. “It was called KROP and when I first went there I was doing mornings. It was a country music station, and it was back in the days when we had to cue up the albums and the little 45s.”
Walsh, an admitted sports geek was always interested in stats and sports and at his first job he began calling his first games.
“The first year I was there, we would record Friday night games and then play them back Saturday morning and just doing games with a recorder,” he said. “The guy that was there was leaving, so I slid into the Brawley High Wildcat job.”
Walsh was there for two years before moving to Salt Lake City Utah where he stayed for a short stint before moving to Ogden, Utah, to take a job with Weber State College where he would remain as the voice of the Wildcats for three years.
“I worked at KLO radio right there in Ogden and did the Weber State games for three years,” Walsh said. “They were very good in basketball back then. Now this was ‘79, ‘80, ‘81. Fred Hildebrand who owned KLO radio in Ogden also owned KBOC in Casper, (Wyoming). I was doing Weber State games and KLO has the rights, but they lost the rights for the Weber State games.”
Hildebrand, the owner of the KBOC station in Casper was part of a group that was a part of bringing a CBA team to Wyoming. That team, part of the Continental Basketball Association meant to be a developmental league for the NBA played for six years before financial difficulties.
During that time, Walsh called the games for the Wildcatters and watched as the team made it to the CBA finals twice, once in 1984 and then again in the final year of operations in 1988 where former NBA star Cazzie Russell was the head coach.
“The owner, Fred Hildebrand said, ‘why don’t you come to Casper and broadcast our games?” Walsh said. “I’d never been to Casper. This was the CBA and they played 48 games a year. I did their first two seasons before Kurt Gowdy got the rights at Wyoming and I had not done football for a couple of years and I really enjoyed doing the Wildcatters. Gowdy got the rights and needed a radio broadcaster for basketball and football. I said, let’s go after that.”
It was 1984 when Walsh left broadcasting for the Casper Wildcatters, a job he would have only held for four more years when the team folded. Instead, he went with his gut and listened to his long-term intuition. 38 years he spent with the University of Wyoming as the Voice of the Cowboys.
Walsh carved out a solid niche for himself and his reputation as a student of his craft with such attention to detail, his game preparation, sports knowledge and his enthusiasm was respected in many parts of the country. He ended up broadcasting games in Madison Square Garden and traveled to many other places with the Cowboys leaving his signature
There there would be many offers to try to lure him away from the Cowboys.
“There were a few times when people contacted me and wanted me to look into what they had,” Walsh said. “But. This is an amazing place. The first time I was contacted my daughters, who were both born and raised here were small. But this place was just the perfect fit for me. I knew that had I accepted taking those other jobs in bigger cities, it wouldn’t have been the same. It was pretty easy to say, ‘thanks for the thoughts, but I’m going to stay.’”
When asked if there were any regrets, Walsh didn’t even think about his one word answer… “None.”
And then added, “None whatsoever.”
Walsh said that Wyoming is now his lifetime home and although he began in Southern California, he has settled in his Wyoming ways as he has found joy in his journey. “I will always be in Wyoming,” Walsh concluded. “Absolutely.”
Along with two daughters, Walsh has four grandchildren and he hopes to be busier with them now that he has retired from being a Voice of the Cowboys.
In 2020, the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame awarded Walsh the NFF Chris Schenkel Award. The award has been presented annually for 26 years and is given to broadcasters who have longevity in broadcasting collegiate football games.