JACKSONVILLE, FL (WSYR-TV) – The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on sports across the world. That also meant that former West Genesee and Syracuse star John Galloway had his fourth year as a head coach of the Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse team stopped. But he wouldn’t change much about his time on the sidelines so far.
“Four of my favorite, most challenging years professionally,” said Galloway. “To take a lot of the values that I learned at West Genesee, then at Syracuse and my year at Duke which was really my coaching tutelage, and then obviously Providence, I’ve been able to create my own style.”
After leaving Syracuse, Galloway started as a volunteer assistant coach at Duke. Then he spent four years at Providence as an assistant before arriving in Jacksonville in June of 2016.
To him, the key to building up a program is patience. Something he will need more of in the current recruiting landscape.
“It’s been bizarre it’s been a change of pace. We had to get creative with our virtual tours. Thankful to have a great media team here that puts together some great marketing materials for prospective student athletes and obviously for transfers that’s a huge market for us, guys that are looking to find a new home and we’ve had to be creative with how we market ourselves, our program and our university to those kids because it’s certainly an opportunity to get better our roster and become more competitive,” said Galloway. “We’re gonna try to be more creative in all those ways. I don’t think we’ll be out on the recruiting trail this summer as we’ve been in the past and we’re just gonna have to live with that new normal.”
He thinks the impact will be much larger than one season as well.
“It’s gonna be the next two to three years where you have five classes coming in and you only scholarship room for four,” said Galloway. “We’re just trying to be transparent with our families our incoming recruits and make sure that they know that the landscape of college athletics in general, not just us, is gonna change dramatically.”
Since his arrival Jacksonville has a 20-30 record. This year, the Dolphins finished at 3-3. Galloway has not been afraid to throw powerhouses like Duke or Penn State on the schedule to challenge his team. His best season was in 2018 finishing at 8-7. The Dolphins lost in the Southern Conference title game to Richmond in overtime 11-10. Jacksonville led the game 10-8 early in the fourth quarter before Richmond scored three straight goals to win. An important year to him in building his program.
It was important to do it in year two, I think that was probably more important. To show the recruits and the guys that we were talking to that our dreams were going to be able to come to reality with a little bit of belief,” said Galloway.
The Dolphins have been 10-4 in conference play in the last two seasons and did not get to play any conference games this year. While his team is not where he wants yet, he sees the progress.
“The reason why I took this job is because I think you can win the conference championship every year. I think you’re in the running. And to do that, that gives you a chance to play in the NCAA tournament. Anything can happen from there,” said Galloway. “Our goal is to be consistently getting into the NCAA tournament and being able to put ourselves in a position to be competitive.”
Galloway left West Genesee in 2007 anchoring the Wildcats defense during its 2005 championship and making the state title game as a junior and senior. For Syracuse, he was the goalie of the back to back national champion Orange teams in 2008 and 2009. His lessons learned then, made him who he is now.
“I think West Genesee me was completely different than Syracuse me. I’d tell myself to take everything a little less seriously have a little bit of fun. It was all about lacrosse, it was all about West Genesee lacrosse, I just didn’t want to make any mistakes. Probably could have enjoyed it a little bit more,” said Galloway.
“Then at Syracuse you know it was trying to live in the moment. Winning two championships my freshman and sophomore year you realize that you don’t think its fleeting, that it’s going to come to an end. Could we have worked a little bit harder those last two years or done a little bit more to make sure that we were successful. I always think about and probably regret resting on our laurels after those first two championships. You learn all those lessons as you go and man, I wish I knew what I knew now as a college kid but obviously wouldn’t have traded it for the world.”
Galloway’s success on the field continued in the professional leagues and internationally. He was twice named the MLL goaltender of the year in 2014 and 2016 playing with the Rochester Rattlers. He plans to play for the Chrome of the Premier Lacrosse League which is still scheduled for late May.
He made Team USA in 2018, going 7-0 in net and winning a gold medal against Canada 9-8 in the World Championships. And that was the best way for him to end the international portion of his career and not try out for Team USA whenever tryouts for the squad resume.
“2018 was really the icing on the cake for my career,” said Galloway. “My experience in 2018 was as good as it could get and I’m hoping to help in different capacities with the team anything that they ask. But for me it was wrapped up pretty well in 2018 and gonna enjoy that.”