Dick Gallagher

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Athletic Administrator

Sports often provide a solid foundation for young people who may otherwise choose a more destructive path in life. Given his background in the battle against drug and alcohol abuse (especially in teens), no one in the Western New York understands that concept better than Dick Gallagher, who has devoted over twenty years to the advancement and celebration of high school sports as a positive influence in the lives of area teenagers.

An understanding of Gallagher’s professional experience is critical to understanding his involvement with the promotion of youth sports. After obtaining a Master’s degree in Social Work at UB in 1969, Dick was appointed Director of Rehabilitation Services for the Buffalo Area Council on Alcoholism in 1970. A stint as Executive Director of that body followed, as well as service as Executive Director of the New York State Council on Alcoholism. Since 1984, Dick has been Executive Director of Alcohol and Drug Dependency Services, Inc. as well as Executive Director of its namesake foundation, which for 15 years has sponsored and spearheaded the Kids Escaping Drugs program and highly successful annual telethon. His crowning achievement in those roles is Renaissance House, a 30-bed teen treatment facility opened in 1990.

As a first-had witness to young lives shattered and shortened by substance abuse, Gallagher realized the critical role of sports in molding young lives and avoiding these tragedies. In 1983, Dick founded Western New York High School Sports, a publication focusing on local high school football. He also established the Western New York High School All-Academic Team to annually honor the accomplishments of over 300 local scholar-athletes in several sports including baseball, softball, football and basketball. In 1987, Dick organized the All-Academic Sports Banquet, now a fixture on the local sports scene.

A true hands-on administrator, Dick knows only one way to approach a task; by rolling up his sleeves and diving in. That philosophy has marked his involvement as President of the Joe McCarthy Baseball League (1981-82), as a founding member of the Erie Community College Football Committee, as a director of the Jerry Butler Athletes in Action Football Camp, and as a member of the Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Committee.

A colleague once remarked, in reference to Gallagher, “In every young person there is potential. This is one man who won’t rest until he finds it.” While Gallagher has been honored with countless community awards for his work, and tonight achieves further recognition with induction into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, he would be the first to admit that his efforts are not for personal glory, but for the kids. The mere thought of hundreds of Western New York youths achieving their potential through his efforts is repayment one hundred-fold.