Aug. 9, 2012
Mt. Pleasant, Mich. - The American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) announced its 2013 Hall of Fame class this month, which will be inducted at the annual convention in Chicago, Illinois, January 3-6. Among the inductees is former Fordham baseball coach Dan Gallagher, who coached over 20 years at Rose Hill and recorded over 500 wins.
Gallagher is joined in the Class of 2013 by Northern Kentucky University's Bill Aker, Cumberland University's Woody Hunt, Cordova High School's (CA) Ralph Rago, Johnson County's Kent Shelly, and Armstrong Atlantic State's Joe Roberts.
Gallagher becomes the second ABCA Hall of Famer with Fordham ties, as Jack Coffey, one of the founders of the ABCA and long-time Fordham baseball coach, is also a member.
"It was the greatest feeling to hear about this," said Gallagher. "It's the best feeling in the world. You're elected by your peers, and that's such a great honor in itself."
For 21 seasons, the Fordham Baseball program was under the direction of Dan Gallagher. In his time at Rose Hill, Gallagher posted a 518-468-10 record, good for second place on the school's all-time list. With Gallagher reaching the 500-win plateau, Fordham is one of very few programs to have two coaches with 500 wins or better for that school (Jack Coffey - over 1,000 wins at Fordham, Dan Gallagher - 518).
Included in his coaching span are seven league championships (three MAAC - 1987, 1988, 1990; three Patriot League - 1991, 1992, 1993; and one Atlantic 10 - 1998), four ECAC titles (1987, 1988, 1990, 1993), and five NCAA Tournament berths (1987, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1998). In two of the first four years in the Atlantic 10, Gallagher led the Rams to the Atlantic 10 Championship Tournament with the 1998 squad winning the A-10 title and advancing to the NCAA East Regional Championship. In May of 1998, Gallagher was rewarded for his work as he received the Iron Major Award, given annually to the Fordham Coach of the Year. It was the third Iron Major Trophy Gallagher had earned in his years at Fordham.
Under Coach Gallagher's guidance, a number of Fordham players have gone on to be drafted by Major League Baseball teams or sign free agent contracts. The most notable players being Pete Harnisch, who was a first round draft choice of the Baltimore Orioles, and went on to pitch for over 13 seasons in the majors, Mike Marchiano, who was a 1997 All-American and a draft pick of the Seattle Mariners, and Bobby Kingsbury, a two-time Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and most recently played for the Greek Olympic Baseball team at the 2004 Olympics.
"If it wasn't for the players, I would have never been elected into the ACBA," explained Gallagher. "Every player, not only in my program, is a dreamer. They all want to play professional ball, but my job was to get them prepared and turn everyone into a team. Everyone comes from different walks of life. I used to change the rooming list every game, so all the ball players got to know each other. This helped create teams that really cared about each other. On top of that, we had a 97% graduation rate. These kids worked hard on and off the field. So many kids have come back to tell me that the discipline and work habits have shaped them as men. It's been a home run for me."
Assisting Gallagher in the turnaround of the Rams' baseball program were pitching coaches Mike Bruhert and John Ceprini. Bruhert came up through the Philadelphia Phillies organization and pitched for the New York Mets. He served as the Rams' pitching coach for over ten seasons, developing five major league draft picks in Harnisch (Baltimore), Bobby Aylmer (Toronto), Miguel Jimenez (Oakland), Jim McDermott (Chicago), and Peter Durkovic (Detroit). Ceprini, who pitched in the Detroit Tigers organization, then joined the staff in 1995 and spent eight seasons at Rose Hill, developing more major league talent in Tom Nielsen (San Francisco), Colin Young (Colorado), and Kris Kozlowski (Toronto).
Over his last 14 seasons, the Rams went 388-352-5 (.524), won five league and two ECAC crowns, and made three NCAA appearances. Even a move from the Patriot League to the Atlantic 10 couldn't stop Gallagher as he led the Rams to the 1997 Atlantic 10 Tournament, a feat which is more impressive considering it was only Fordham's second season in the conference.
Formerly a construction worker, Gallagher had to build more than just dugouts when he arrived at Rose Hill in 1984. Gallagher rebuilt a program in disarray, snaring some of the most highly regarded players out of high school.
After just two rebuilding seasons, the Rams were ready for prime time. They qualified for the ECAC Tournament each of the next three seasons, and in 1987 earned their first ever NCAA berth, coming just two games short of an entry into the College World Series. In his college coaching career, all at Fordham, Gallagher has posted a .528 winning percentage.
Instead of going to college, Gallagher enlisted in the U.S. Naval Service during the Korean War. After his time in the U.S. Navy, he turned to coaching a boys club with different age groups. He won the National Championship with Bill Mayor's boys club in 1976, and then achieved great success in stints as an assistant coach at Mepham High School in Bellmore, N.Y., and as head coach at Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville, N.Y. In all, Gallagher compiled a winning percentage of better than .800 for his high school coaching career. With over 30 years of amateur coaching experience, Gallagher is a member of the ABCA 25-Year Club.
In 2007, Gallagher was inducted into the Fordham Athletics Hall of Fame.
Dan's family has two children, his son, Daniel Scott and his daughter, Christine. He also has five grandchildren, Charles, Julianna, Erin, Ryan, and Chris.