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New Head Coach Spotlight: Patrick Gallagher

Inevitably, the start of the fall semester brings many new faces to the Cornell campus, and this year is no different. However, while many of these newcomers will face their biggest challenges in the classroom, a small group will be tasked with bringing a spark to their respective sports teams in their new positions as head coaches. In all, there are six new head coaches for the 2015-2016 season. Actually, several of these new coaches are not new to Cornell at all, as two are former student-athletes and three others are former Big Red assistants.

Every day for the next week, BRSN will be featuring a profile on each of the six new head coaches that Cornell welcomes, or welcomes back in the case of five, to Ithaca, NY. Today, we start with the newly appointed women’s swimming and diving head coach, Patrick Gallagher.

Gallagher began his coaching career for the Big Red as an assistant from 2001-03 before taking the reigns of the swimming program at Saint Francis University for 10 years. During his time with the Red Flash, Gallagher led his team to four straight league championships, earned Coach of the Year honors in 2010 and 2012, and became the winningest coach in program history.

Coach Gallagher returned for a second stint as an assistant coach for Cornell following his time with Saint Francis, and, now, he is taking over as the head coach for the women’s team after longtime Big Red coach Joe Lucia announced his retirement. This year will also mark the separation between the men’s and women’s programs for the first time in six years, as Wes Newman will take over the men’s team.

When asked about his expectations for the upcoming season, Coach Gallagher put it simply, “I expect to improve from last season.” Although early in his tenure as head coach, he cited a number of reasons for why he sees this goal as very realistic.

First, there are a number of returning key contributors from last year’s team, and the squad adds a “talented incoming class.” While depth remains a weakness of this team, the presence of a number of consistent contributors will greatly help to balance out this issue.

Next, Coach Gallagher notes that exceptional senior leadership from the pool will be a huge advantage for the Big Red. Although the season has yet to begin, Gallagher has already noticed the team’s oldest members taking charge to support the entire group.

Lastly, Coach Gallagher suggests that he will bring stability to his team that will hopefully lead to more success in the future. Gallagher says, “as a new head coach, I can bring something unique – consistency.  Coach Lucia built a great program.  Working with Joe Lucia over the past couple of years has given the program the opportunity to grow and build on what they have accomplished.”


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