Remembering Rick Kane

1973 Amador Valley grad succumbed to complications from pneumonia at age of 55

When Dennis Georgatos thinks about Rick Kane, he remembers the best football player to ever come out of Amador Valley High School -- and possibly the most underappreciated.

"That's not surprising because Rick was never one to wear his stardom on his sleeve," Georgatos, who was a right guard on the Amador team, said.

Richard James Kane, 55, died on Christmas morning in his Reno home from complications of pneumonia, his family said.

Born Nov. 12, 1954 in Lincoln, Neb., Kane moved to Pleasanton at age 12 and a couple short years later, became a rising star on Amador's football squad. A 1973 graduate, Kane was a standout as a running back during his four high school years, Georgatos said.

"He was always one of us, whether he was running on the field with us or running around with us off the field," he said. "Rick was as quick as anyone with a helping hand or encouraging word."

After high school, Kane went on to meet more success as a running back for the University of Oregon. At Oregon, he earned the Len Casanova Award for Rookie of the Year in 1973, according to his family. He transferred to San Jose State University as a junior, where he would go on to rush for a school record of 1,143 yards.

Outside of Pleasanton, his name became more well-known as he was a third round draft pick in 1977 for the National Football League. He would go on to play for the Detroit Lions from 1977-1983 and for the Washington Redskins from 1983-1984.

After nine years, Kane ended his football career and subsequently moved to Reno, Nevada, where he began a 25-year career in car sales. Sixteen of those years he spent as sales manager of Reno Jeep Chrysler and the past four years at Scott Motor Co., also serving in sales.

In 2005, he lost his leg in a traffic accident. A 17-year-old girl, distracted by her cell phone, crashed into his motorcycle, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. Kane made the most of the situation by starting a support group for amputees, the Journal stated.

Kane is survived by his wife of 13 years, Dianne; sons, Ryan, Sean and John; daughter, Kelly; and mother, Anne Kane. Services were planned for this morning at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Reno. Burial was to follow at Mountain View Cemetery in Reno.

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Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Dec 30, 2009 at 8:48 pm

A sad loss for Reno car dealers and the LDS.

It is also sad that such an athlete died at such a young age.


Like this comment
Posted by Amador Grad 1970
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 31, 2009 at 9:59 am

Although I didn't know Rich personally, my condolences to his family for their loss. I remember seeing his name occasionally during his college and NFL playing days, and was happy that a Don was doing so well. I'm so sorry that Christmas has become a bittersweet day for his family. My prayers are with you today.

Like this comment
Posted by Gary McCloud
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 2, 2010 at 5:16 pm

My condolences go out to his entire family! Alot has been said about Rick's football career and all of it is true! I was his team mate on the Amador track team for 3 years and he was an awesome and versatile performer that made a true difference in so many meets!

Like this comment
Posted by JETS FAN
a resident of another community
on Jan 4, 2010 at 1:36 am

I was at the New York Jets game earlier tonight and couldnt help but think to myself Rick Kane played in this very stadium against both the NEW YORK GIANTS and NEW YORK JETS.

Like this comment
Posted by Erik Hanhy
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 11, 2010 at 6:11 pm

I never knew or met the man, only of his legend that will live forever in the annuls of Amador football. Rest in Peace.

Like this comment
Posted by Bijan H.
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:34 pm

I remember Rick from his days as a running back for San Jose State in the mid-seventies. He was a fine ball player and I followed his career through his pro years. It's with real sadness that I heard about his passing. My heart goes out to him and his family. Rest in Peace.

Like this comment
Posted by Tim Trent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 19, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Rick, started out as a customer & then became a friend. I myself from Detriot then onto Pleasanton we always had someone or a place in common.Rick is surley going to be missed. My heart goes out to his family.

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