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'Those were very, very thoughtful and great years': John Beake discusses Dan Reeves' impact on the Broncos

Flip through photos from Dan Reeves' time in Denver, from his first years leading the team to being inducted into the Ring of Fame.

During John Beake's two decades in the Broncos' front office, he witnessed some of the most successful eras of the franchise, including an impressive run under Ring of Fame head coach Dan Reeves, who was hired in 1981. Beake witnessed that transition and worked closely with Reeves as he led the team in the 1980s and early 1990s.

After Reeves’ passing on Saturday at the age of 77, Beake took some time on Saturday to reflect on the impact Reeves had on him and the Broncos organization:

When Dan was hired, he was considered one of the league's most-promising young coaches at the time, right?

"He was. Because he got a lot of good experience, when you're talking about the Cowboys, as a player and as a coach. The Cowboys really had great people down there, and he was a part of that. He learned from it, and he brought a lot of that up to the Denver Broncos."

What kind of emphasis on character did he bring to the Broncos as the leader of the team?

"He had his hand in everything, in a good way. A lot of times you didn't agree, but he always gave you the chance to say what you had to say, if it was yes or no. Then you got your marching orders. But he brought a lot to the Denver Bronco organization when he came in, at the time that he came in."

How exciting was the run of success under Dan?

"It was great. He had great energy. Everybody was on the move and everybody was behind it. You really had an organization that was on their feet and making it work, all parts helping each other out. It was good to be around it. Sometimes you didn't agree, but we always worked things out. When I look back on my career, those were very, very thoughtful and great years to have to learn."

He was a two-time Coach of the Year and went to the Super Bowl later with the Falcons. Do you think Dan was a coach that people should regard more as one of the greats?

"We had great years with him. He went to Atlanta, we ended up playing him in Miami in that game [in Super Bowl XXXIII]. … That was a thriller. When he was on the other side, you knew you better pay attention."

What kind of legacy did he leave on the team with the coaches he hired, like Mike Shanahan and Alex Gibbs?

"I would say it was a great deal, [and] not just on the field but off the field — how we conduct our business in our new football facilities. I think that was very, very important. That's where it started, and we learned a lot on how to conduct our business — in a nice way and a positive way and work with each other."

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

"I'm glad I had the opportunity to work with Coach Reeves and his family. I know that he did a lot to set the tone of the future for the Denver Broncos, when you look back on it. I was very fortunate and I appreciate it. I think everybody that came around him knew that he meant business. He was very hard-nosed in a way, but it was a way to teach us all how to win."


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