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Headshot RichGallagher  


Inducted: 2015 - Player

Current Home: Los Angeles, Calif.


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 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 semi-finalist, finalist, and semi-finalist 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 Nationals championship finals, where he completed an astounding 93 of 94 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.


Playing Career | US Nationals | Contributions and Service | Interview

Playing Career

1981-1983    Condors   Santa Barbara, CA
1984-1984   Drivers   Los Angeles, CA
1985-1988   Polo Club   Los Angeles, CA
1989-1992   Iguanas   Southern California
1993-1994   Beyondors   Southern California
1995   Chain Lightning   Atlanta, GA
2000   Pond Scum   Los Angeles, CA


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.


US National Championship Tournaments  

Team    City   Division    Year    Placement
Condors   Santa Barbara, CA   Open   1981   Champion
Condors   Santa Barbara, CA   Open   1983   3T
Polo Club   Los Angeles, CA   Open   1988   7T
Iguanas   Southern California   Open   1989   3T
Iguanas   Southern California   Open   1990   2
Iguanas   Southern California   Open   1991   3T
Iguanas   Southern California   Open   1992   9T
Beyondors   Southern California   Masters   1993   Champion
Beyondors   Southern California   Masters   1994   3
Chain Lightning   Atlanta, GA   Open   1995   5T
Pond Scum   Los Angeles, CA   Masters   2000   2



Richard Gallager   1990 Nationals hammer (Hyslop)
1990 Club Nationals - Iguanas
  Richard Gallager   1992 Nationals (Hyslop)
1992 Club Nationals - Iguanas

Richard Gallager   1982 Condors (Landesman)
1982 Club Nationals - Condors
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Landesman

Richard Gallager   1990 Nationals vs NY (Hyslop)1990 Club Nationals vs. NYNY - Iguanas

Contributions and Service 

  • Sectional coordinator 1983 Southwest Section.
  • Sectionals Tournament Director in 1983
  • Captain LA Drivers 1984
  • Captain Polo Club 1985-1988
  • Part of the Junta for the SoCal Iguanas


Richard Gallager   1988 Nationals (Hyslop)
1988 Club Nationals - Polo Club



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

A: Handler both man and zone.

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


 Played competitively from 1981 to 2000

 1981 National Champion Open Santa Barbara Condors

• 1993 National Champion Master Santa Barbara Beyondors.

• Played open nationals 9 years, masters 3 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. 2nd most passes for either team was 36 passes).

• Started LA Polo club and 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.


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

A: 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" short for Gallagher.

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

A:  A handler, a leader, the captain, a mentor, always in when "it counted" or "when we HAD to score". The most over achieving team was in 1985 I put together the Polo Club. In the finals in Regionals we were one point away from beating The Flying Circus who won Nationals that year.

Q: 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?

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

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

A: Many of my peers I was equal 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, "The 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 National Finals record and a pass named after me.

  • 2016 Class

  • 2015

  • 2014

  • 2013

  • 2012

  • 2011

  • 2010

  • 2009

  • 2008

  • 2007

  • 2006

  • 2005

  • 2004