Class of 2015 - Player

Rich “Gags” Gallagher

Rich “Gags” Gallagher

Born: April 6, 1959 (Age 62)

Career Information

Club

1981-1983
1984
1985-1988
1989-1992
1995

Masters

1993-1994
2000

U.S. National Championships

1x U.S. Club Champion (1981)

1x U.S. Masters Champion (1993)

1x U.S. Club Runner Up (1990)

1x U.S. Masters Runner Up (2000)

Rich burst onto the ultimate scene in 1981, when, as a first year player, he emerged as a major contributor to the Santa Barbara Condors’ national championship team. After graduating from UCSB, Rich moved to Los Angeles to start his own software company. While evolving into one of the game’s top handlers, Rich was the centerpiece of a multi-year effort to develop a top-level open club team in Los Angeles. In 1987, Rich and Polo Club finally broke through to become the first team from Los Angeles to ever qualify for nationals. This team, later named Iguana, showcased Rich as its primary disc handler and reached its pinnacle between 1989 and 1991, finishing as a semifinalist, finalist and semifinalist at nationals during those three years. Rich was regarded as having one of the most accurate and powerful forehand throws, and is widely recognized as the first proficient thrower of what is now called a Scoober. His dominance, skill and poise in the backfield were displayed at the 1990 National Championship finals, where he completed an astounding 94 of 95 pass attempts. During his playing career, Rich was held in the highest regard by competitors and teammates for his integrity and embodiment of Spirit of the Game.

Contributions & Service

  • 1983: Sectional Coordinator: Southwest section
  • 1983: Sectionals Tournament Director
  • 1984: Captain LA Drivers
  • 1985-1988: Captain Polo Club
  • Part of the Junta for the SoCal Iguanas
  • As a Santa Barbara Condor and SoCal Iguana we won 25+ tournaments through the years I played including State Championships, World Ultimate Championships at Santa Cruz, etc.

Championship Tournaments

U.S. National Championships

Year Team Placement
1981 Condors Club Men 1st
1983 Condors Club Men 3rd
1988 Polo Club Club Men 7th
1989 Iguanas Club Men 3rd
1990 Iguanas Club Men 2nd
1991 Iguanas Club Men 3rd
1992 Iguanas Club Men 9th
1993 Beyonders Masters Men 1st
1994 Beyonders Masters Men 3rd
1995 Chain Lightning Club Men 5th
2000 Pond Scum Masters Men 2nd

Interview

What position(s) (e.g., handler, deep cutter, middle-middle) did you usually play?

Handler on both man and zone.

Describe your major accomplishments – both as a teammate and an individual player?

• Played competitively from 1981 to 2000

• 1981 National Champion Santa Barbara Condors

• 1993 National Champion Santa Barbara Beyondors.

• Played open nationals nine years and masters three years.

• Invented “Gags” pass to burn zone defenses.

• 1982 Santa Barbara Condor MVP Santa Cruz World Championship.

• Two time best offensive player annual award for the Southern California Iguanas.

• 1983 Sectional Coordinator Southern California.

• In 1990 Nationals finals for Iguanas, completed 94 of 95 passes in sustained 35+ mph winds. Verified in the book “Ultimate the First Four Decades” page 86 (second most passes for either team was 36 passes).

• Started LA Polo club and w captain five years. Made Nationals in 1988.

• Known for one of the strongest forehands in Ultimate, high completion percentage, and deep pass threat.

• Many photos in the UPA Newsletter.

• Diving catch photo on the front page of the UPA website for 2 years.

Why did you stand out among the elite players of your time? What was it that you did best, or were known for?

As a primary handler my completion percentage was always very high. My forehand and hammer were the strongest of any player I knew. I think I was a very good leader and someone the team could always count on. The “gags” pass was named after me which is an upside flick that I would consistently burn zones with. Those on the west coast knew the pass as the “gags.”

What role did you play on the best (or most overachieving team) that you played on?

A handler, a leader, the captain and a mentor, I always in when it counted or when we HAD to score. The most overachieving team was the Polo Club team I put together in 1985. In the finals of regionals, we were one point away from beating The Flying Circus, who ended up winning nationals that year.

What year was the peak of your career? During which years were you playing as the "stud" of your team? If you continued playing after your peak years, how did your role change? In what year did you stop playing at the top competitive level?

Peak: 1981-1992. Each teamI played on was one of the top teams in the country, and I was considered one of the best. After my peak, I played masters but my role continued as dominant handler.

Why do you believe you are worthy of being inducted into the Ultimate Hall of Fame?

Many of my peers that I was comparable to in importance and ability are already in the Hall of Fame. I played hard, practiced hard and was true to the first rule of ultimate, Spirit of the Game. I am a two time national champion while playing 11 years at nationals. I started two teams where I was the captain and served the UPA as Sectional Coordinator. I have a nationals record and a pass named after me.

Rich "Gags"'s Teammates