When Allen Leiker joined the Review-Journal sports staff in the 1980s, UNLV basketball was the biggest show in town.
Four decades later, the city has emerged as one of the sports capitals of the world. Leiker has helped coordinate coverage of every major event along the way as the news organization’s longtime assistant sports editor.
The editor of “Golden!” — the book the RJ published about the Golden Knights’ run to the Stanley Cup championship — the 64-year-old Leiker recently reached the pinnacle of the RJ’s award-winning sports section when he was promoted to Sports Editor.
Leiker, who has led Raiders and Golden Knights coverage for the past 14 months, replaces Bill Eichenberger, who is leaving the RJ to join Sportico.com.
“The bar has been set very high in the RJ sports department,” said Leiker, who had been the Deputy Sports Editor for the past 14 months. “Bill Eichenberger and Bill Bradley took what had been a solid sports department to another level as sports editors. We started to be recognized on a national level by our peers.
“With an incredibly talented staff that I inherited, we will continue to build on that success and reputation.”
Leiker has been part of a management team that won the Grand Slam in the Associated Press Sports Editors national contest — one of the nation’s highest sports journalism honors — twice in the past three years. The department has been recognized for producing a Top 10 daily section, Sunday section, digital section and special section nationally by the APSE over the past several years.
“I can’t imagine someone more prepared for this position,” RJ Executive Editor Glenn Cook said. “Al has been leading the Review-Journal’s sports coverage for more than 30 years. He’ll continue to give readers what they’re accustomed to: one of the best sports departments in the country.”
A native of Topeka, Kansas, Leiker has worked for the RJ for 34 years, 33 of them in management.
“When I moved here in 1989, Las Vegas sports was all about Jerry Tarkanian and UNLV basketball and boxing,” Leiker said. “We had no major league sports teams — though the NCAA would argue otherwise about UNLV — and no prospects of any. The NFL and NBA said they would never move here because of the legalized betting. Hockey in the desert and MLB in Las Vegas in the summer? Yeah, right.
“But look where we are now. The Raiders are playing in a state-of-the-art stadium, the Knights just won the Stanley Cup, the Aces have won two straight WNBA titles and the A’s will be moving here. What an incredible sports city we have become.”
The RJ also promoted Ben Gotz, who joins Jim Barnes as an assistant sports editor.
A native of Woodbury, Minnesota, the 29-year-old Gotz started at the RJ as an intern in June 2016 after graduating from the University of Minnesota and was hired full time three months later. He covered a wide variety of sports before joining the Knights coverage team in 2018.
As the Knights’ lead writer last season, Gotz covered the team’s journey to the 2023 Stanley Cup title. His stories throughout the season were featured prominently in “Golden!” and his work has been honored by the APSE.
“If I were starting a team of all-star journalists, Ben might be my first pick,” Leiker said. “He amazed us all when he came here as an intern with his ability to do anything we asked him to do. He developed into one of the best young hockey writers in the country, and I’m confident he will do the same as an editor.”
Original News Source Link – LVRJ
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