LARRY REECE WEARS MANY HATS
Larry Reece wears many hats at OSU. None, however, fits better – or is more recognizable – than his role as public address announcer at Gallagher-Iba Arena. So Reece is deeply connected to the building…
“To me, it’s the most historic building in the world. I’m kind of biased, but I’ve grown up here and my daughter grew up here. From the time Lauren was born, this was her home away from home. I joke with people that her first two words were Gallagher and Iba. And it’s really not a joke.
“But this really is a special place. I’ve spent the last 25 years of my life here, calling some of the great events. I still get chills when I walk into this building and think about the history that it exudes.
“We always say it, this place is home to more champions than any other building in America. The fact that Mr. Iba put that wood floor in here in 1938 and it’s still there and it’s good and we sand it every year and it’s still better than what you could buy today.
“All the great players and the great moments that have happened here. I mean, Bedlam was born here through wrestling. It just doesn’t get any better than Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“My job is special, because this is my home. This is my university. This is the university I love. I bleed orange, just like all these fans. I just happen to be the only fan with a microphone.”
TOM DIRATO HAS SPENT A LOT OF TIME IN GIA
Tom Dirato spent 30 years as a member of the Oklahoma State athletic department and as a color commentator for a multitude of Cowboy sporting events.
So he had an up-close view of many of Gallagher-Iba Arena’s historic moments and considers Eddie Sutton one of his closest friends.
Even in retirement, Dirato is still a frequent visitor at Gallagher-Iba Arena while covering the Cowboys for a Stillwater radio and television station.
“I spent more time in this building maybe than I did in my own home.”
“It’s a grand old building. I go back to when it was Gallagher Hall. A lot of the young people don’t even know what I’m talking about. Downstairs was an old track. The middle of the infield was where we had the batting cages. It was dirt floor, a lot of dust. The south end was the rifle range. It had a lot of stuff going on. That was our indoor facility.
“I was fortunate to be around a lot of the big things that happened in this building, fortunate to help call a lot of things that happened here. I think those of us who were here all these years, when you’re going through it, maybe it doesn’t register just what you’re watching until you’re standing back for nine or 10 years and retired and you go, ‘Oh man, I remember that.’
“Any highlight that came out of my experience was during the Eddie Sutton years. You would walk in the here and 35-40 minutes before the game began there wasn’t a seat to be had. We had kids that generally would camp out, and we would go out and visit them the night before. It was a badge of honor to come to games, because if you didn’t have a ticket, you didn’t get in.
“It was deafening, and that’s coming from somebody that had a headset on all the time … even with a headset on, you couldn’t hear the guy sitting next to you ...When this place had 7,000 people, or 6,381, you couldn’t hear yourself think.
“The biggest highlight that I ever had here was the three-overtime win against (Texas). Kevin Durant was the best player I’ve ever seen with my own eyes in college.”