ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Once a week, Dan Reeves heads to the golf course.
After two knee replacements and a recent hip replacement surgery, he keeps his time on the links limited.
But on Tuesday, that peace and quiet was interrupted. Many times.
"The phone was ringing and you can’t answer the phone on the golf course, but I had it on vibrate and thought my cart was going to vibrate to death," Reeves laughed. "Then I saw those numbers ‘303’ and I figured somebody had probably passed away or I was getting into the Ring of Fame.”
Fortunately, it was the latter.
Reeves is one of three men that will be inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame this season, joining Gene Mingo and Rick Upchurch.
“It’s awesome. I’m thrilled to death. I can’t tell you how happy I am," the former head coach said. "When you spend 12 years with an organization — that was my first time and I have so many great memories, and it’s just great to be honored by being in the Ring of Fame.”
Reeves is the first coach to be inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame, and just the second non-player to earn that distinction, joining former Owner Gerald H. Phipps, who was inducted in 1985.
He coached the Broncos from 1981-92 and compiled a 110-73-1 record in his 12 seasons. During that span, he led the team to a franchise-best five division titles and three Super Bowl appearances. All three came in a four-year span from 1986 to 1989.
"So many great memories," Reeves recalled. "My family basically grew up, my three children, they only had to move one time from the time they got into school and the time they went to college. That wouldn’t happen with many football coaches.”
His 110 regular-season wins and seven playoff victories each rank second in Broncos history behind former Head Coach Mike Shanahan. His teams finished with a losing record just twice, one of which came during the strike-shortened 1982 campaign.
Through all those games, it's hard to pick out one that stands above the rest. But the head coach remembered one contest in particular during the 1983 season.
"One that sticks out was when John (Elway) was a rookie and we played Baltimore, the Colts you know, and it was such a big deal about John not going to play for the Colts," he said. "They came in there and had a big lead in the fourth quarter and we came from behind, and I think that’s when we all realized that as long as we had John Elway, we could have a chance in the fourth quarter if we just even kept it close. When you look back at all the many comebacks that we had in the fourth quarter, it gave me a lot of grey hairs, but it was exciting."
Reeves credited Owner and CEO Pat Bowlen for much of the success he saw as Denver's head coach for 12 seasons.
"Pat was just a tremendous owner. No way we could have had all the success [without him]," he said. "Pat gave me everything that I ever asked for, trying to make us a better football team and he was great to work for. I’m just sorry that out of the three times we ended up going to the Super Bowl, we didn’t end up winning one of them. I feel badly about that and I know Pat does too, but he was a great owner. I have a tremendous amount of respect. He continued to show after I left there, you can’t be successful without an organization that starts at the top, and you know Pat has been a great leader ever since he bought that football team.”
Bowlen started the Ring of Fame in 1984 to honor former players and administrators who played significant roles in the franchise’s history. Last season, Ring of Fame Plaza opened for fans to visit outside the stadium. Including this year’s inductions, a total of 27 individuals have been honored as Ring of Famers.
The induction ceremony for the 2014 honorees will take place at halftime of the Broncos' Week 2 home game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Kickoff on Sunday, September 14 is scheduled for 2:25 p.m. MDT.
Reeves can only imagine what it will feel like to stand in the middle of Sports Authority Field at Mile High and see his name adorn the Level 5 façade.
“Oh wow. I probably will have the same butterflies I had the first game we played against the Oakland Raiders," he said. "They were the defending world champions, came in there the opening game of the season. I don’t think I ever — I know I wasn’t ever as nervous as I was that particular day as a head coach and never had that many butterflies when I was playing.
"So it’ll probably be a tremendous emotion, I know that."