John Galloway had already left his mark. On Syracuse, on the BIG EAST and on lacrosse. But, as with all competitors, he has higher aspirations and desires the steep slope of climbing to newer, greater things on higher, more elite levels.
Galloway was named BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the year in back-to-back seasons at Syracuse, collecting the honor in 2010 and 2011. With the Orange, he won National Championships as a freshman and a sophomore (2008 and 2009), the only starting goalkeeper in NCAA history to accomplish that feat in his first two years. He was the first goalie in SU history to be named First Team All-American twice and was the program's first two-time All-American selection.
Galloway graduated from Syracuse as the all-time leader in wins (59), minutes played in goal (3,776), goals against average (7.33) and NCAA Championship career goals-against average (7.20).
"Being a part of the SU lacrosse program was a dream come true," said Galloway. "I never thought I would have the opportunity to be part of such a tradition-rich program. I learned so much more about life, brotherhood and love from the groundwork and foundation laid by Coach Roy Simmons Jr. Wearing the orange and blue is something I dreamed of as kid, but to actually be a part of it was a surreal experience I will always cherish and carry with me."
After his impressive collegiate career, he was taken 20th in the 2011 Major League Lacrosse draft. Galloway made his professional debut on June 10, 2011, with the Rochester Rattlers. After earning MLL Cascade Rookie of the Week honors after a 9-8 victory in Week 8 over the Outlaws in Denver, he wrapped up his first season with the team's Rookie of the Year honors.
Galloway is now on the Providence College men's lacrosse coaching staff and he hopes to help create the same winning tradition in Rhode Island that he continued at Syracuse. His experience and success at Syracuse can only help him transition easily into the role of a coach and he has many role models to use as he credits his former coaches for shaping him into the player and leader he is now.
"The biggest transition from player to coach has been the understanding of what goes into the game," said Galloway. "When you play, you just think about the 'here and now'. As a coach, you must be prepared for any situations that could come your way, and then know how to calmly and accurately coach your guys to put them in spots to be successful. The biggest thing that helps me after playing in the Big East is remaining cool under pressure. In this conference, not everything is going to go your way. You have to know how to handle those times with a cool composure."
On his course from player to coach, Galloway has had plenty of inspiration from his own coaches. Taking his cues from those who taught him, Galloway is able to relate to both what his players need from their coaches as well as what the coaches are trying to instill in the players.
"I have taken a piece from every mentor I have had, especially SU coaches," said Galloway. "Their willingness to let us play and take the shackles off is something I admire about them. Coaches John Desko and Kevin Donahue never inhibited your creativity, and trusted in us to make big plays at big moments. Coach Lelan Rogers instilled in us the discipline and attention to detail you must have to win big games. I am forever in debt to that staff."
There is always one particular mentor that helps to find a desire or skill within to hone and turn into a career, a passion. Galloway found that in Simmons Jr.
"Coach Simmons Jr. inspired me to follow my dream of coaching college lacrosse," said Galloway. "Watching the loyalty all of his former players showed because of the effect he had on their lives long after college was something I was extremely inspired by."
While there are some hardships in the transition from player to coach, Galloway has it easier than others might because of his experience in the league. "I believe my experience in the BIG EAST goes a long way because you remember what it takes to win such an elite conference. At any given time, any of the seven teams could take home the crown. It is all of the extra work and persistence that makes the difference."
Galloway's expectations for the league as a whole are optimistic. "I sincerely mean it when I say any team in the conference can win," he said. "Not enough can be said about Notre Dame and Syracuse. Georgetown is going to thrive under (new head coach) Kevin Warne. St. John's is a force to be reckoned with under Coach Miller, as seen last season. Villanova has maybe one of the most dynamic offenses in the country. Rutgers continues to bring in big talent every year. It is a tremendous opportunity to compete against some of the best."
In addition to his new role in coaching, Galloway has tried out for the U.S. National Team. On Jan. 27, there was an exhibition game featuring the U.S. Men's Lacrosse Team and defending NCAA Champion Loyola. The man who embodies BIG EAST men's lacrosse participated in the game, which served as a way for coaches to evaluate talent to compete in tryouts for the U.S. Olympic Team. The game was played at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., part of the ninth annual Champion Challenge.
"Competing to get a spot on Team USA is a dream come true," said Galloway. "I never dreamed in my wildest imaginations I would have this chance. Coach Chris Gabrielli has been supportive and Coach Brett Holm continues to help me train. Playing with guys I looked up to as a kid, and having the chance to wear your countries colors, it is almost hard to even talk about. I just hope I get a shot."
Galloway's high aspirations will no doubt serve as inspiration to his current student-athletes at Providence. The coach, while aiming to etch his name into every level of lacrosse, has his main focus on the team and training in Rhode Island. His vision for the Friars' lacrosse program is bright and optimistic.
"I can't guarantee how many games we are going to win and what year we will reach that height, but I do know the resources are in place," said Galloway. "I also have tremendous confidence in my boss and our leader, Coach Gabrielli. I believe his work ethic and will to win will transcend across our team as we move forward to a new era of PC lacrosse."
"I couldn't ask for a better opportunity than the one I have at Providence," said Galloway. "For a program in an elite conference like the BIG EAST, while also putting our stamp on this new product is a dream come true for any new coach. My favorite part about being a Friar is the genuine passion people have for this college. We have everything that a student-athlete could want, and now with new facilities, a new stadium and fully funded scholarships, we have what it takes to compete at the elite level of Division I lacrosse."
Galloway may be aiming to leave his mark on the BIG EAST in new ways, but during the course, the league seems to have left a lasting impression with him as well.