Year Inducted: 2017
Nominated By: Kurt Madic
Sports Competed In: Tennis
Athlete, Coach or Contributor: Athlete, Coach
Attended Pueblo South H.S., playing on the boys tennis team from 1972-74.
Consistently a force to be reckoned with in local leagues and tournaments in singles, doubles and particularly mixed doubles. Won dozens of local tournaments in all categories from early 80's to late 90's including "Night Time Tournament", "Jim Kasic Memorial", "Paper Cup", "Pueblo Country Club", etc.
Centennial High School - Head Girls Tennis Coach
● Took over winless program, turned into perennial league and district champions dominating the city for nearly a decade with multiple undefeated seasons, numerous state qualifiers and within arms reach of multiple State Titles
● 1984, 85', 86', 87', 88', 89' South Central League & District Champions (w/multiple undefeated seasons)
● 1985', 86', 87', 88', Regional Champions
● 1984', 89' Regional Runner Up
Centennial High School - Head Boys Tennis Coach
● Took over struggling program and turned it into perennial league and district champions dominating the city for nearly a decade with multiple undefeated seasons, numerous state qualifiers and within arms reach of multiple State Titles
● 1984, 85', 86', 87', 88', 89' South Central League & District Champions (w/multiple undefeated
● 1984 ,1989 Regional Runner Up
University of Southern Colorado - Head Women's Tennis Coach/Assistant Men's Tennis Coach
● Hired by AD Dan DeRose in 1992. Took over winless programs, proceeded to win six Conference Titles, producing national tournament qualifier (CSU-P HOF Inductee Daniella Ivana, the school's first two-time All-American). Recruited around the globe including Romania, Switzerland & Spain.
● 1996, 1998 - Men's RMAC Champions.
● 1998 - Women's RMAC Champions winning all six singles championships and 2 of 3 doubles.
● 1998 - Named Womens Tennis Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference "Coach of the Year."
Private Tennis Coach - 1980 - Present
Known as the tennis coaching "guru" of Pueblo, folks for decades have sought out John to coach them and their children to tennis greatness. John coached numerous players locally throughout the past 35 years including three individuals to State Title matches, producing two state champions (Brian Kasic & Lulu Cruz)
● Originally mentioned by Dave Socier in 1994 Pueblo Chieftain article as one of handful of potential Pueblo Tennis GPSA HOF nominees for consideration, most of which went on to GPSA HOF Inductions.
● A master at technical tennis instruction,Gallina spent endless hours on Pueblo's tennis courts from the early 1980's to this day. Hundreds, if not thousands of Pueblo's youth fondly remember him as their "Junior Excellence" coach from the summers of the 1980's to early 1990's.
● Turned around Pueblo Centennial Program to be dominate the area in 1980's and early 90's, in an era considered by many to be Tennis's "Golden Era" in Pueblo, when participation and competition were at an all time high.
● Beloved to this day by his former players, now grown adults, still refer to him as "Coach" nearly three decades later. Gallina, an old-school coach who modeled his coaching style after the likes of Lou Holtz and Vince Lombardi, prided himself on motivating his players, instilling discipline, and teaching them to play the game of tennis "the right way". His tough nosed approach on and off the court centered around out-working and out-smarting their opponent, practicing fair play and embracing the underdog, never-die mentality. If you ask any former player, most important of all was mental toughness. Gallina's approach to tennis carried over into life lessons for his former players.
● "Claims to fame" include hitting with Charlton Heston, giving a tennis lesson to John Wayne's granddaughter. He was also a line judge for local junior tournament when an attitude filled adolescent, Andre Aggassi played in Pueblo.
● Gallina truly made coaching tennis his "life's work", affecting the lives of hundreds and probably thousands of Puebloan's through his love and dedication to the game of tennis.
Affiliations and Achievements:
● United State Tennis Association - Tennis Professional 1980-present.
● Nick Bolietieri Tennis Academy - Graduate/Alumni.
● National High School Coaching Award - 1988 Boys Tennis Coach - Bronze Award.
● Pueblo School District 60 - Teacher of the Year 1993.
Private Tennis Coach: John to this day is still sought after as a private tennis coach to a handful of Pueblo Youth, most recently guiding Pueblo West's Sarah Schoenbeck from youth tennis to three straight state championship tournaments. She most recently finished 2nd in the 4A State Singles Championship match in 2016.
From The Pueblo Chieftain Articles:
"That's my identity" -- John Gallina, tennis coach
"We love our coach" -- former player Diedra Roque
"We've got to keep him, I can't imagine John not coaching at Centennial, we need him, and he's not only a good coach, he treats the girls out there like ladies" -- parent Patty Kenyon
"As a tennis writer, I try to keep my distance, after all there are a lot of schools and coaches to cover, but like (player) inferred, this guy is a little special" -- Chieftain writer Dave Socier on John Gallina.
"Gallina changed this whole program around, he gets the most of out his team, more than any team in town" --former player Scott Jones.
"Centennial's home court advantage is huge, it's where opponents become victims. They ought to rename the street out in front "Gallina Way"" -- Chieftain writer Dave Socier on John Gallina.
"When he took over the program nine years ago, the bulldogs played (lost) the quickest matches in town, times have changed however, the turnaround is complete. Yes, match times have been extended on the North Side due to John Gallina" - Pueblo Chieftain.
John and his wife Kathy currently reside in Pueblo West and have lived in the Pueblo area for 60+ years.