Tim Van Galder, popular TV sports anchor and former Big Red player dies

By Sally Tippett Rains

(Updated with more quotes)

According to The Big Red Zone Tim Van Galder passed away Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022 in St. Charles, Missouri at the age of 77. KMOV confirmed it on their website. Jim Holder, long-time television and radio sportscaster said Van Galder had been sick.

Known simply by the initials TVG back in the day, Van Galder was a former Big Red quarterback and the sports anchor on KMOX TV (Now KMOV) in the mid to late 1970’s in the days of  Patrick Emory and Ollie Raymand.

Holder was life-long friends with Van Galder dating back to their childhood.

“We were both from Madison, Wisconsin,” Holder said, “I went to Madison East and he was at Madison West. They were both big football rivals. Jim Bakken the Cardinals kicker also went to West.”

Holder was a receiver for his his team and Van Galder the quarterback on his. After high school Van Galder went to New Mexico Military Institute, a school that Roger Staubach had also attended. Holder went to Iowa State and was a wide receiver on the football team. A year later Holder recalled he was walking with some of his buddies who had gone to Madison High School East and they recognized a group of guys who had gone to Madison West and they stopped to talk. He noticed Van Galder was one of them and that was wen he found out he had just transferred to Iowa State.

“So I ended up being one of his receivers,” Holder said. “We became really good friends and took many road trips as kids do in college. We spent a lot of time together.”

Van Galder was one of five brothers and their dad Clark Van Galder was a football coach at the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse. According to Holder all the brothers were standout football players and each one of them signed an NFL contact.

One night in 1965 someone at Holder’s fraternity house heard a news report on the radio about the Iowa State quarterback’s dad passing away and he yelled it down the stairs to Holder. The station had picked it up off the wire service because of Tim Van Galder’s popularity –not realizing he might not have heard the news yet.

“It was the Madison All-City Football banquet that night,” remembered Holder. “Tim’s dad was there. The Wisconsin coaches were always guests of honor. He was taking off his coat and just had the big one. He was rushed to the hospital and died.”

It was before cell phones and Jim wanted to be sure and get to Tim quickly so he went over to Van Galder’s fraternity house and told him. He ended up driving him to an airport where an alum helped him out by flying him home to Madison where he stayed all week with his family and buried his father.

“Clark Van Galder was such a nice man and in fact we named our son Clark after Tim’s father,” said Holder. “But Tim was so well-known as the Iowa State quarterback that his dad’s death was news in Ames, Iowa.’

Van Galder was a star athlete in most sports. He excelled in golf, played high school basketball, baseball and wrestled. Holder and Van Galder would ride home to Madison on breaks.

“Tim didn’t have a car,” said Holder. “I had my old ’56 Roadmaster we called ‘Beulah’ so I always drove us back and forth to college.

After college, Van Galder was drafted by the St. Louis Football Cardinals (now Arizona) in 1966. He played for two years in St. Louis before joining the Cincinnati Bengals in 1973 and then the New York Jets that year.

Shortly after Van Galder began playing for the Cardinals, Holder, who had started his broadcasting career in Detroit found out he was moving to St. Louis to accept a job at KSD TV (Now KSDK). He called his old quarterback buddy with the good news that they would be reunited again, until ’73 when he moved on from the Cardinals.  After Van Galder’s football career ended he came back to St. Louis to work at Channel Four.

“So I was at Channel Five and he was at Four,” said Holder. “Then when I went to KMOX Radio we were actually in the same building. What a coincidence that we traveled so many roads together. And we were friends to the end.”

Holder said that in the last few years Van Galder lived in the same apartment complex as Mel Gray and along with Johnny Roland and Jackie Smith they all stayed together and had longtime friendships.

“They were his family,” he added.

Smith was the person the nurse called with the news that Van Galder had passed.

“He died at 6:30 in the morning and Jackie called me at 7,” said Holder.

Before he got sick Van Galder still enjoyed staying active and playing in golf tournaments.

In the photo, Van Galder is to the far right, with Bob Mayhall, formerly of KMOX Radio sports and George Csolak, who covered the Blues for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. They were at the Friend’s of Betty Schildroth golf tournament in 2016.

“Tim was the celebrity chairman that event–  the 23rd annual tournament which raises funds for St. John’s Hospice,” said Keith Schildroth, a Florissant councilman and  formerly of the Post-Dispatch. Schildreth, along with his brother, founded the charity event.

“I had the pleasure of playing with Tim in 2016 in the event,” he said. “Our team which was Dan Benoist, Brian Korbesmeyer, TVG and I won the A Flight. What a terrific golfer and great guy. God Bless him.”

“During my days covering the Blues,” Csolak told STLSportsPage.com, “If I would break a story, Tim –who was immensely popular as Channel Four sports anchor at the time– would call me and ask if he could use my story on his broadcast. He always promised that he would give me credit and he never failed to do so. I always appreciated him for that.”

Van Galder spent 13 years as a sportscaster for Channel Four and then did some work for KPLR Channel 11.

Integrity Sports owner Lou Tevlin who first knew Van Galder when they both worked at KMOV put out a press release which talked about his uniqueness as a sportscaster at that time. He would dress more casually and lean on the desk rather than sit at it.

The release said that he did not normally sit behind a desk to deliver the news “but rather sat on top a news desk in the background addressing co-anchors and viewers in what may be the most casual manner.”

Tevlin, who was Van Galder’s producer at KMOV said that Jackie Smith had called him early Wednesday morning to tell him the news.

“TVG enjoyed off the charts charisma, which made him a natural for TV,” Tevlin said “In fact Regis Philbin discovered TVG and told CBS Timmy had the ‘it’ factor….and boy did he have a lot of IT!”

Tevlin remembered his days working with him.
“I was the first full time, paid sports producer in St. Louis TV and TVG never pretended to be a journalist, he was a jock reading sports.”
“Some guys didn’t like him,” said Tevlin. “Mostly because their girlfriends or wives did, and secretly, guys wanted to be like TVG. Outstanding athlete in everything he did, charming, good looking and had a really cool job on TV! “
Holder agreed with that. “The ladies liked him,” he said.
“He was a St. Louis’ version of ‘Broadway’ Joe Namath,” said Tevlin. “In fact, TVG was Namath’s back-up with the Jets and was his roommate when Namath owned the famous Bachelor Club in NYC.  When TVG entered a room, he quickly owned it with his authenticity and smile. A ladies man, larger than life personality.”

KMOV posted a photo of Van Galder doing a sportscast (shown right). To view their news account, CLICK HERE

“He was a longtime friend and I will miss him dearly,” said Csolak.

Bob Mayhall saw him often when working at KMOX Radio during the time Van Galder was at KMOV. At the time both media outlets were in the same building — One Memorial Drive– with KMOV being downstairs. Being in the same building the sports staff of the television station and radio station often crossed paths.

“I saw him at a lot of press conferences and he was always very nice,” said Mayhall. “He was a great golfer, too.”

Jim Baer, who at that time was the sports editor for the Suburban Journals and did the High School Sports Reports on KMOX Radio remembered Van Galder.

“Tim brought a refreshing new look to TV sports reporting,” said Baer. “He was never full of himself and kept his quips very glib. Though he made his living on television he had many friends with the print media. At one time he owned a bar in St. Charles, loving to hold court there. He lived life to the fullest. He was an excellent golfer; great banquet host and I’m sure had no regrets about his entire life.”

Frank Cusumano posted, “Rest in Peace Tim Van Galder. He had a wonderful career at KMOV. He was also one the great athletes I have ever known: NFL QB, an awesome college baseball pitcher and a scratch golfer. Just a really good guy.”

The clipping shown left was an ad for Channel Four. Van Galder is shown with Kevin Slaten who was working at the station then.

He was very charismatic,” said Todd Blackstock, anchor/host for STL-TV, the city cable channel, who saw him at Big Red luncheons.  “There was an aura around him. He never met a stranger.”

Van Galder was known for his quick wit.

“He was a shining light, pre-COVID, at our weekly meetings of an organization I’m involved that centers around sports,” said Csolak. “When he walked in, the room would light up. During my three-year stint as president of the club, TVG would walk around the room shaking hands and when he got to me, he would smile and say, ‘Whattayasay, Prez?’ At the close of every meeting, Tim would come armed with a great joke that often left the room in stitches.”

Van Galder as a star quarterback for Iowa State is still remembered today. He also played on the baseball team. As recent as 2015 a new article was written about him by Mike Green, Assistant AD/Communications for Iowa State when he was inducted into his college athletic hall of fame.

“Tim Van Galder is now an Iowa State Athletics Hall-of-Famer,” the article said. “He earned the ultimate achievement bestowed upon his alma mater’s athletics department on April 13 when it was announced he was a member of the six-person Class of 2015.”

Green recalled that when Van Galder got the call from the senior associate Athletic Director David Harris, he said he was shocked but that it was a wonderful honor.

“It’s so sad to hear he passed away,” said Green when told the news. “What a fascinating man with a great story. I know he loved Iowa State.”

Though he had a career in football, the thing Van Galder will most be remembered for is his announcing career after football—both the sports reporting at Channel Four and he even worked with Bob Costas and Al Michaels doing a few NFL games.

“Van Galder taught me at a very young age two incredible lessons in the highly pressure environment of television news,” said his former producer Tevlin. “Like an interception, you can’t take back an on-air mistake; and give it all you got professionally but when you leave work, you leave it behind and live life.  Man, did TVG ever live Life! ”

Whether it was at a local bar or a dinner, TVG was accessible.

Todd Blackstock summed it up: “He was always laughing and was the life of the party.”

“He was a wonderful guy,” said Jim Holder.

At the time of this writing, there were no funeral plans announced. Check back for updates.

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.