All About Dave

Petaluma, California resident Dave Albee is a native of Dover-Foxcroft, Maine and a graduate of Foxcroft Academy.

Albee’s athletic claim to fame in high school was being a four-year letterman at second base in baseball at FA who also led the Little Ten Conference in football in mild concussions his junior and senior years. He once caught a touchdown pass as a wide receiver and ran for another TD as a quarterback in a 60-0 victory over the Greenville Lakers, an embarrassing lopsided loss that forced Greenville to drop football, take up soccer and perhaps -- who knows? – overdevelop property around picturesque Moosehead Lake.

Albee was recruited as a QB out of high school as walk-on to quarterback the Northeast School of Broadcasting Fighting Microphones in spirited two-hand touch football games on Marlborough Street in Boston during school recess. Discovering for the first time in his life that he had a thick Maine accent, Albee’s sports broadcasting career took an unexpected sharp turn. He wound up announcing “Paper or plastic” to patrons as a grocery store clerk at an A&P in his hometown, accepting a full-time job there for $99 a week to pay off school loans. However, Albee’s destiny changed one fateful day in December of 1973 when the sports editor of Dover’s weekly newspaper, the Piscataquis Observer, came into the A&P to buy groceries and told Albee that she did not plan to cover FA’s big season-opening basketball game that Saturday night in Orono against the rival Red Riots. That’s when Albee issued these life-altering words: “Do you want me to do it for you?”

A stringer was born and a new career was launched. Albee covered the game, wrote out the game story in long hand and turned it into the local paper. A day later, the editor and publisher, Jim Thompson, called Albee and offered him a full-time job to write sports, layout pages and learn to be the staff’s photographer. Albee proceeded to work for the Piscataquis Observer for three years. He covered Foxcroft’s state Class B-winning basketball team in 1973-74 and drew his inspiration for sportswriting from reading the late, great Boston Globe columnist Ray Fitzgerald, Peter Gammons (then the Red Sox beat writer for the Globe) and Bob Ryan (then the Globe’s Celtics beat writer).

In 1976, Albee celebrated the nation’s bicentennial by deciding to move to Colorado where his brother, Dick, was living. He originally intended to pursue a degree in journalism at the University of Colorado in Boulder but was offered a full-time job over the phone to come to work for the Tri-State Daily News in Lamar. Bosses at the Lamar Tri-State Daily News hired Albee sight unseen and Albee discovered why when he drove into Lamar sight unseen for the first time with his Chevrolet Vega station parked amongst his belongings in the back of a 29-foot U-Haul. Lamar didn’t look or feel anything like the rest of Colorado. Flat. Dusty. Hot. Hell.

Nevertheless, it marked Albee’s introduction into writing for a daily newspaper and his first glimpse of six-man high school football, which was played much like the touch football games with the Fighting Microphones in Boston, except with pads and referees and without double-parked cars on the playing surface. Albee and his pregnant first wife lived in a rented house trailer across the street from the paper. One day, during a dust storm, Albee looked out a window of the paper at the trailer and, though in the middle of the day, could only make out the lights inside the trailer.

Albee’s athletic claim to fame in Lamar was teaming with his dog, Kara, to beat a half dozen kids in a game of Frisbee football at Savage Stadium.

On Labor Day weekend 1977, Albee interviewed for the job as sports editor of the Loveland (Colo.) Reporter-Herald. When Albee was informed he had been hired, he notified his first wife, who, within an hour, had everything packed and was ready to leave Lamar with their daughter, Damianne.

In Loveland, Albee was first exposed to covering major college and professional sports (outside of the rodeo in Lamar). The Broncos went to the Super Bowl for the first time, the Rockies were Colorado’s hockey team and Mile High Stadium was home to the Triple A Denver Zephyrs. Albee covered an exhibition boxing match at Mile High between Muhammad Ali and Broncos holdout Lyle Alzado.

Albee’s athletic claim to fame in Loveland was getting heat stroke following his winning heat in the 440 in a “Superstars” competition, fouling out of a rec basketball game his newspaper teammates eventually won with only three players on the floor and getting kicked out of slow-pitch softball game then retiring to the parking lot where he spent the next two innings obnoxiously honking the horn in his van to protest the umpire who ejected him.

After nearly four years in Loveland, a humbled, wiser and more mature Albee accepted a job to become sports columnist at the Rockford Register Star in Illinois in 1981. The stars were aligned. During the 1981 season, the Northern Illinois University men’s basketball team qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time. In 1982, the Milwaukee Brewers, Harvey’s Wallbangers, went to the World Series and, in 1983, the “Winning Ugly” White Sox won the division title. In 1984, the Cubs won their division (then blew their chance at the World Series) and the Bulls drafted Michael Jordan. In 1985, the Bears went to the Super Bowl with Ditka, the Frig, Walter Payton and the punky QB.

Albee’s athletic claim to fame in Rockford was once, while playing shortstop on the newspaper’s softball team, taking a relay throw from the outfield and throwing the ball completely over the backstop behind home plate. He also had the audacity to attempt to take a charging foul in a charity basketball game as Bears linebacker Otis Wilson drove the lane for what he believed would be an uncontested slam dunk. In 1986, Albee, then divorced and determined to revive his life and career, moved to California to launch the Marin Independent Journal’s Sunday newspaper project for Gannett. The first person Albee met at the IJ was an administrative assistant by the name of Caroline Hechim. Albee wound up marrying her and they have raised two sons, Drake and Brock, together.

Again, the stars were aligned. The San Francisco 49ers won three more Super Bowls and the Raiders came back home to Oakland. The Giants won their division in 1987 and went to the World Series in 1989 and 2002 while the A’s appeared in three straight World Series. The Sharks were born and the Golden State Warriors were re-born. Stanford’s men’s basketball team went to a Final Four, Cal’s football team became a Rose Bowl contender again and College of Marin’s football team lost a national JC record 51 consecutive games before the school dropped the program that spawned USC coach Pete Carroll.

Albee’s athletic claim to fame in Marin was pulling a groin muscle running to first base in softball and rupturing his left Achilles tendon playing in a noon pick-up basketball game at Dominican University then stupidly re-rupturing the injury in the doctor’s weeks later. His athletic career is now restricted to jogging (he competed one year in the famed Dipsea trail race) and gently playing baseball and basketball with his sons in the backyard.

On April 11, 2009, though he recently had been promoted to sports editor and had won more writing awards than anyone in the history of the Marin IJ, Albee was laid off by the IJ and MediaNews Group Inc. after 22 years and eight months of dedicated, hard-working, fun-loving service. That is the inspiration for