The press box at Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium has now been named the “Dan Callahan Press Box” by the Pulaski County School Board as a way to honor the longtime sportswriter who passed away May 20.
The board unanimously approved a resolution – written by former school board member Mike Barbour – naming the press box after Callahan.
When Callahan wasn’t roaming the sidelines of Joel Hicks Field as a newspaper reporter, he was broadcasting the Cougar games from the press box on the radio, earning him the “Voice of the Cougars” nickname.
Callahan started his newspaper career as an ad salesman and sportswriter for the Radford News Journal covering the Dublin Dukes.
From there he sold advertising and covered the Cougars for The Southwest Times.
He spent his latter years as a sportswriter covering football and basketball and as a columnist for The Patriot.
He was in his 50th year of newspaper work when he died, and he had covered the Cougars since the high school opened in 1974.
For many of those years he described the game action on the radio for WPSK 107.1 radio, and for three years working with radio veteran Bob Thomas who at that time owned WBLB Radio.
School Board Chairman Tim Hurst, a longtime personal friend of Callahan’s for several years, spoke Tuesday of what Callahan’s work in the media and as a founding member and longtime leader of the Pulaski County Touchdown Club had meant to athletes at PCHS.
“Each year a lot of kids would need football cleats, and they are expensive – between $80 and $100 a pair. A lot of kids’ families couldn’t afford them. It’s hard to tell just how many sets of cleats he was responsible for buying,” Hurst recalled.
“Dan went out into the community and raised money so they could have a decent pair to wear every Friday night,” he added.
Hurst added it is hard to tell how much food Callahan was responsible for bringing into the field house for the team during summer workouts so players would have food to eat.
“He saved the school system thousands and thousands of dollars through the Touchdown Club, not only for football, but other sports programs as well,” Hurst said.
Hurst noted Callahan was largely responsible for the Touchdown Classic held each year at PCHS, calling coaches of other schools to line up teams for the event and putting the popular football event together.
“Just Build It! That was Dan Callahan,” Hurst remembered. “Sitting right in this auditorium. We had had conversation after conversation about building a new middle school and Dan had heard enough. And, while sitting in the back of this auditorium during one of those conversations, he said out loud, ‘Just Build It.’ And that caught on throughout the community.”
Hurst said Callahan was certainly deserving of recognition and said his name on the press box would be unveiled the night of the Cougars’ first home football game.
Hurst relinquished chairmanship of the meeting to Vice Chairman Beckie Cox so he could personally make the motion to approve a resolution naming the press box for Callahan.
The resolution was passed unanimously.
By MIKE WILLIAMS, The Patriot