Dave Logan is a busy man. Correction, make that Dave Logan is a very busy man.
He has a wife and a grown daughter. He owns his own home with that responsibility, upkeep and the endless honey-do list. He co-hosts a morning sports radio show in Denver five days a week. He owns a consumer construction referral home improvement website. In the fall, he is known as “the voice of the Denver Broncos” as the play-by-play man during Broncos radio broadcasts. He is also the head football coach at Denver’s largest high school.
Oh, and he has bested former Cleveland Browns Hall of Fame head coach Paul Brown. You see, Coach Brown began his coaching career at Massillon (Ohio) Washington High School and won five state championships. As a high school football coach himself, Logan has won eight - most recently in 2019.
Just another day for a former Kardiac Kid. Yeh, that Dave Logan – former wide receiver of the Cleveland Browns.
Logan played for the Browns from 1976 – 1983. He was drafted in the third-round after an illustrious career out of the University of Colorado in which he averaged 15.8 yards a catch. That 1976 draft was the first one for two new expansion clubs: Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks. The Browns selected RB Mike Pruitt in Round 1, traded their second-round pick and then took Logan the following round and was the fifth wide receiver drafted.
However, the Browns were not his only choice for employment. Logan was a multi-sport athlete at Wheat Ridge High School in Colorado. And he excelled at each sport. In his senior year, he was voted MVP in both football and basketball. As a short stop and pitcher, he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1972 in the 30th round while still in high school. In college, he played wide receiver, punted and returned punts. At the time of his graduation, he was ranked second all-time in receiving yards at Colorado. He also starred for the school’s men’s basketball team and averaged 14.1 points a game during a 58-game career.
After his college career, he was taken by the Kansas City Kings of the NBA in the ninth-round, plus the Browns in Round 3. Needless to say, when you are drafted by three professional sports leagues, you have options. Logan has the distinction of being one of only three athletes ever drafted by three pro sports entities. But in football, he appeared in Playboy magazine with that year’s grouping for the Playboy All-American Team.
During his eight seasons in Cleveland, Logan started 89 of 119 games, had 262 receptions for 4,247 yards, a 16.2 average per catch, scored 24 touchdowns with only two fumbles. At 6’, 5” he had a long reach and great hands with a basketball player’s mentality when jumping for a pass. When he left the Browns, his name was etched into the Top-5 of every receiving team category. Not bad for a guy who one year was slated to play quarterback. More on that later.
The “Kardiac Kids” were part of some wonderful moments in Browns’ history. There were several songs produced including “The Twelve Days of a Cleveland Browns Christmas.”
In 2007, cleveland.com compiled a list of the 100 greatest Browns’ players of all-time. Logan was inserted at number 81.
He was traded to the Denver Broncos and only played one more season before hanging up his cleats, but the move to his home state ended up being a career bonanza for the talented athlete. With his playing days over, he become a radio talk show host in the Denver area and in 1990 joined KOA, a station with a powerful signal and quickly rose to become one of the area’s top radio voices.
He was interviewed to do color commentary for Broncos games on radio broadcasts from 1990-1995 and also worked several Colorado football games for station KCNC in the 1990s as the color commentator. Logan then slid into play-by-play for Broncos road games in 1996 while still doing color for home games. The following season, he moved into the play-by-play position on a permanent note and has become the “Voice of the Broncos” ever since.
In NFL radio broadcasts, there are only 32 positions as “the voice of” and a former Cleveland Brown holds one of them. You might say that Logan’s employment with the Broncos broadcast team was a good luck charm as Denver won their first two Super Bowls with him being the full-time play-by-play man, and has called all four of the Broncos Super Bowls.
In 1993, he became the head football coach at Arvada West High School just outside Denver. Logan went 61-24 and captured his first state championship in 1997. From there, he took the head gig at Chatfield High School, just minutes from his home and still in the Denver area. Those teams went 30-7 in his three years and added another state championship in 2001. Mullen High School, a private Catholic institution located in southwest Denver, hired him as their head coach from 2003-2011.
In nine seasons at Mullen, Logan lost 12 games and captured four state championships including a three-peat from 2008-2010. He left Mullen and took the same position at Denver’s largest high school, Cherry Creek, and subsequently won two state titles (2014, 2019).
High school football coaches don’t make a lot of money, much less the assistant coaches. It is a love of not only the sport, but allows the coach to remain in football. Since his very first high school head coaching job, Logan has taken a paycheck for his position as head coach, and then distributed the money to each of his assistant coaches.
Logan has been enshrined into the Colorado High School Activities Association Hall of Fame (1992), Colorado Sports Hall of Fame (2000), University of Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame (2008), Jefferson County, Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame (2009) and was named to the University of Colorado’s All-Century Football Team. In addition, he will be inducted into two more Halls of Fame as soon as the coronavirus situation becomes more stable in order to properly induct him: National High School Hall of Fame and the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
In his 27 years as a head football coach, Logan’s teams have made the playoffs 25 times. His coaching record is 282 wins against 65 losses for an .813 win percentage.
He has received numerous broadcasting awards plus has been named high school Coach-of-the-Year repeatedly including the National High School Coach-of-the-Year in 2001.
DawgsByNature caught up with Coach Logan in Denver between a sales meeting and a sandwich to find out what rookie NFL camp was like, why he chose the Browns over the MLB Reds and NBA Kings, and because “Red Right 88” was designed to be a pass play to him, why wasn’t he thrown the ball?
DBN: The Browns drafted you in the third round of the 1976 NFL draft. You were also drafted by the NBA and Major League Baseball. Did the NHL not want you?
Logan: I love sports and hockey is a sport played in Colorado, but I have never put on a pair of ice skates in my life. I have snow skied before, but I just never learned to skate.
DBN: In high school you were All-State in football and won the “Gold Helmet Award” for the best scholar/athlete, and then was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds. Was it during this time period that you begin to think you could make a living at playing sports?
Logan: No. Getting drafted by the Reds occurred while I was still in high school. If you signed to play pro baseball you waive all your amateur status and I knew I wanted to go to college and play. I didn’t even think about playing sports for a living until my sophomore year at Colorado but never gave it much thought about which sport. I loved whatever game I was playing at the time and devoted my time and effort to that game while we were in season.
DBN: You had three professional contracts offered. Why did you choose the Browns?
Logan: The Reds would have prevented me from playing college sports so that wasn’t in my mind. At Colorado, I broke my ankle right before the NFL draft and just knew I could not be ready for the NBA season. Then the Browns drafted me in a higher round and the timetable worked out with the ankle healing.
DBN: What was your rookie training camp like?
Logan: It was tough. Mike Pruitt was taken in the first-round. He and I played in the last College All-Stars Game vs. the NFL Champions Steelers in Chicago. That game it rained and rained so much they called the game in the third quarter, so when the two of us reported we were behind and had to be in catch-up mode which made it even harder. We had to learn the playbook and also learn the speed of the game.
DBN: Although you played during your rookie season, you didn’t start until your sophomore year and eventually scored your first touchdown. How did you find out you were starting your first game, do you still have that touchdown football, and can we go outside and play with it?
Logan: Actually in my second training camp, the Browns moved me to quarterback. During warmups you play catch with the quarterbacks and other receivers, and Blanton Collier, the head coach of the 1964 NFL Championship team, was then a consultant for the Browns. Collier told me I had a good spin and velocity on the ball. After practice one day I was told Coach (Forrest) Gregg wanted to talk to me in his office. They told me that I threw better than the other quarterbacks on the roster and wanted to move me there. I thought they were kidding, but would go back-and-forth in practices as a quarterback and receiver. Then Paul Warfield pulled a hamstring and receivers coach Raymond Berry moved me back to receiver full-time. I got my first start in Cincinnati opening game and ended the game with the most yards. When we played the Steelers I caught my first touchdown catch. I don’t have it, but I have a picture of the ball.
DBN: You were part of the “Kardiac Kids.” When meeting Browns’ fans today, do they mention that?
Logan: All the time. We had a Kardiac Kids reunion in 2014 which included an autograph session. I remember some of us were at the hotel and someone said out loud they hoped there would be people show up. From 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm it was just a steady stream of fans and was a great afternoon.
DBN: 1979 and 1980 were your personal two best seasons while the Browns had winning records both years. Was this a tribute to you gaining more playing experience, or was it more having someone like Brian Sipe as your quarterback?
Logan: Both. We also had some great talent that developed just like I did like Reggie Rucker and Ozzie Newsome. During those years we would be in some very close games and always had the confidence that even if we were losing towards the end that we could get it done. Brian had an incredible arm and was league MVP in 1980. We were the first team to have five receivers to catch 50 or more balls in a season. And this was done before four and five receiver sets. Just basic 21 personnel.
DBN: In 1980 the Browns went 11-5-0, won the division and played the Raiders in the playoffs in a very cold game. That game is famous for “Red Right 88” which was your play. The Browns were down 14-12 and on the 13-yard line with :49 seconds left in the game. Why didn’t Sipe throw it your way instead of towards Ozzie Newsome which was then intercepted?
Logan: We were in field goal range and it was second down so we called a time out. It was really cold and really windy all game. (Kicker) Don (Cockroft) had missed several kicks in the game because of the wind and (head coach) Sam (Rutligiano) wanted to see if we could win the game outright and waste some more time, but knew we were going to kick the field goal. Brian and I both were on the sidelines during the timeout so we both knew what the play was. The Raiders were in a man coverage and he looked my way first and I had maybe a step on my defender. Sipe saw that Ozzie was open in the end zone and threw the pass to him. The wind pushed the ball downwards and Mike Davis made a great catch. The thing about Davis is, he and I were teammates at Colorado and during warmups back then you could underhand balls to him and he would catch about 50-50, but he caught that interception. When we see each other, that play is what is always brought up and we kid each other about it.
DBN: The wind was a factor plus the very low temperature. Kicker Don Cockroft had already missed two field goals plus an extra point with the wind giving him fits. Do you feel this was the reason head coach Sam Rutigliano, named Coach-of-the-Year, went for the touchdown instead of immediately lining up for another field goal?
Logan: The conditions were awful for any type ball that went into the air that day. It was 3 degrees but the wind chill was minus 40. During the time out, we had every intention of kicking the field goal, but Coach wanted to see if we could get a little closer first and not leave the Raiders any time and maybe even score.
DBN: On the sideline, were you surprised that a pass play was called instead of a run?
Logan: We were just trying to get closer and wind down some clock. It was second down which is a good time to pass, then run on third down, and then line up for the kick. We had won a lot of games down the stretch like that, so we were confident in the strategy discussed during the timeout. We had been doing that sort of thing all year and it usually came out to our advantage.
DBN: Other than money, how is the pro game different than when you played?
Logan: These guys today have much more resources in training especially during the off-season. Those advancements in that part of football, what they eat and how they train. Today, they come to camp in great, great shape. They stay ready to go. Plus, the league does a good job now on limiting head shots. As a receiver, I took a lot of head shots because that is what safeties wanted to do and it was part of the game. Now, it has been reduced.
DBN: You ended up on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1980 for the “Pro Football Issue” with a photo reaching out for a pass against the Steelers. Did you actually catch that pass, and how did you find out you were on the cover?
Logan: Yes, I did catch that pass with my left hand only. (Safety) Mel Blount had my right arm pinned and wouldn’t let go so I stretched out the hand that was free and was able to grab it. One of my teammates brought in a copy into the locker room and showed it to me. Nobody had told me that I was going to be on the cover, and then here it was.
DBN: Speaking of the Steelers, those ‘79 and ‘80 Browns’ teams averaged 22 points a game, yet the Steelers reeled off four Super Bowls during this period. Do you believe those Browns teams aren’t being recognized as very good teams because of the shadow of Pittsburgh’s success?
Logan: During those years we played the Steelers better than anybody else. But you have to recognize success in terms of championships. During their dynasty, the Steelers have nine out of 22 players in the Hall of Fame. They dominated the NFL on offense as well as defense and deserve the recognition they get.
DBN: You only played one season in Denver, yet you have been the radio voice for the Broncos for almost 30 years. How did you get this gig, and does it get you out of chores at home?
Logan: You would think that it might, but no, it doesn’t. Bob Martin was the play-by-play man for Broncos broadcasts and had cancer. After the 49ers beat the Broncos in the Super Bowl in New Orleans, I started doing color with Larry Zimmer for five seasons. In 1997, I moved into doing play-by-play and have been doing this full-time ever since.
DBN: You have been selected Colorado Broadcaster-of-the-Year four times. Which do you enjoy more: color analyst or play-by-play, and why?
Logan: I enjoy both. Play-by-play is important in which you become the eyes and ears to the listener. They see only what you tell them is happening, so being descriptive is important. You have to help them visualize clearly what is going on during the game and every play.
DBN: iHeartMedia lauched “Denver Sports 760” and now your show is called “Logan and Lewis.” Last summer they gave you a 10-year extension on your contract. Is this confirmation to yourself on your radio skills and can we borrow some money?
Logan: It was certainly a humbling experience for them to extend me. You work hard and want to be a valuable part of the experience and certainly value their recognition. It was a nice gesture. Loaning money is not my area of expertise.
DBN: You have a 27-year history as a high school football coach. Your first job was at Arvada West. What were your job duties there, how did you get the job and what was your reaction winning the 1997 Colorado State Championship?
Logan: In 1993 I was doing a nighttime radio talk show on KOA and it didn’t interfere with my position as head football coach. Our 1996 team lost in the state finals, so the following season we had a lot of players coming back with experience and wanted to finish what they started. Getting into the playoffs is hard work let alone playing for the title. It was the first championship for me to be a part of at any level as a player or a coach and was an amazing feeling.
DBN: Then you moved to Chatfield and won that school’s first-ever state championship. Did the second title feel better because you had proved yourself as a coach, or because it was with a different school and you had established that your system works?
Logan: I never looked at it as having to prove anything. I took the job because it was literally three minutes from my house, and also my daughter was going into her freshman year and it was a great reason to be in her school every day. We were unbeaten going into the semi-final game and was down 37-14 with 10:15 left in the game. But our players did not quit and things went our way that maybe shouldn’t have and we pulled it out 43-37. Out of all the state championships I have been involved with, that one is the one that stands out because we were so close to never even playing in the title game.
DBN: You won four state titles with Mullen High School including three in a row. How difficult is it to win two in a row much less three-peat?
Logan: It is tough enough just to win one. You have to have a lot of things go right and what I learned in the NFL was “ball security.” In high school, you usually have players for just one season and occasionally have some starters to carry over for a second year so you always have turnover. When we won the first of the three championships in 2008, our roster was mainly sophomores who played right at key times. We started seven sophomores on offense that year. So, the following season we had all of this experience and hardly any holes to fill and went undefeated. The third championship, we were undefeated again and had never been behind in any game until the championship game. We were behind 16-0 and had the resiliency to come back and win 27-24.
DBN: Now, you took on Denver’s biggest high school Cherry Creek and won two state titles including this past year 35-10 over Columbine. What was the difference between the 2014 Cherry Creek state championship team and this year’s state championship team?
Logan: No matter what system you use, every team is different. The 2014 team had a lot of returning players and scored late in the championship game. We went for the two-point conversion and made it to win 25-24. It was a great finish and a storybook ending. In 2019, that roster is a lot younger and had great quarterback play. We had gone to the championship game in 2018 and lost. So, this time around we had experience. Our players wanted to get back to the title game and finish what we started.
DBN: Athletic abilities aside, how important is it for you as their coach to preach success at the academic level?
Logan: As you know, football eventually ends. My players hear me talk about getting good grades and putting the time in constantly. Go to class, be courteous to teachers, have good study habits and put forth the effort. Football can provide great opportunities in life, but being smart will always be needed no matter what you do.
DBN: What are you expecting to be different this year because of COVID-19?
Logan: I just hope we have a season. There is a protocol in place to make sure students are safe. I look at it as whatever we have to do. If we have to cut-down on the number of practices or days, but a) we have to get back to school, and b) students need to be involved in extracurricular activities while in high school whether it is sports or band or being in the chess club. People don’t buy into this online learning as a new way of education.
DBN: What is TeamDaveLogan.com and what gave you the idea to launch a website such as this?
Logan: It is a website that recommends various services to consumers. We launched in June of 2009. One day my mom said she needed a plumber and asked me who to call. I didn’t know anything about plumbers and besides, who can you trust to go into your mom’s house or the work they did? That began the idea of an online site that refers consumers to specific services. We perform an 18-point checklist of contractors who want to become part of our service, and do a complete background check because these are people we are recommending to be in your home or yard. We are a trusted and reputable site. Next month, we would have been in business 11 years.
DBN: You were elected to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. How did you find out that you had been voted in, and who was the first person you told?
Logan: A Hall of Fame member called me. It was a great honor. We had a great time taking the family to all the festivities during the induction. I called my mom when I found out.
DBN: What was your fondest memory of being a Cleveland Brown?
Logan: The old Municipal Stadium had a really distinctive roar when we were on the field when something good happened. Those were some great moments. Coming out of the baseball dugout was exciting every game. And in pre-game warm ups, fans would line up down in the Dawg Pound and were really close so you could go over and talk to them. Cleveland Browns fans are very knowledgeable and have this appreciation for the game. I was very lucky to be a part of that organization.
Thomas Moore contributed to this article