East Rutherford, NJ – The New York Giants and Gatorade have selected Mr. Matt Gallagher of Maine-Endwell High School (Endwell, NY) as the 2022 Coach of the Year. Under Coach Gallagher, the Maine-Endwell Spartans finished their season undefeated at 13-0, earning their second-straight Section IV Class B state championship with a 26-25 win over top-seeded Pleasantville. It is Gallagher's sixth state championship victory. Likewise, as a USA Football certified Master Trainer since 2015, he travels all over the region assisting in clinics for coaches and kids to make the game better and safer for everyone. He also previously coached the USA 17U boys tackle National Football Team.
The Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Year Award is part of the Giants' continuing effort to support local high school football programs. The Giants elected to name the award in memory of former Union High School (NJ) coach, Lou Rettino, for his fine commitment to the game of football, his community and the betterment of his athletes' lives. Each week during the high school football season, the Giants select one area high school head coach as the Coach of the Week winner. The Giants select one 'Coach of the Year' at the conclusion of the high school season to honor someone who goes above and beyond. The selection is based on the coach's continued commitment towards promoting youth football, developing motivated student-athletes and contributing overall to their community.
"Maine-Endwell is beyond fortunate to have Matt Gallagher as both a teacher and coach in the district," Athletic Director Kevin Hores said upon notice of Matt Gallagher's selection. "Simply put, Matt exemplifies all of the characteristics that you look for in a teacher and coach. The amount of pride, passion and dedication that he pours into educating, coaching and his community is nothing short of astonishing. The lasting impact that he has had on all those that have had the pleasure of sitting in his classroom or locker room is endless."
In recognition of Coach Gallagher's selection as Coach of the Year, a $4,000 check will be granted to the school's football program from The Giants Foundation and Gatorade. Gallagher will also receive a certificate of recognition signed by Giants head coach Brian Daboll and will be honored at a dinner following the season, as well as a 2023 preseason home game.
Gallagher earned a bachelor's degree in education from Wagner before pursuing a graduate degree at Binghamton University. He has taught sixth-grade social studies at Maine-Endwell Middle School for 31 years.
Coach Gallagher is in his 15th season as a Maine-Endwell football coach. Throughout his tenure, he's accumulated a 140-24 coaching record overall. Gallagher has led the program to six state championship titles in the past decade; his success has earned the program wide scale recognition.
Maine-Endwell High School was the subject of a 2015 ESPN 30-for-30 documentary for its impressive 62-win streak from 2011-2015. Gallagher himself was named to FNF Coaches’ 2021 '20 Most Influential High School Football Coaches' list. Previously, he was named Elite 24's 2013 'Coach of the Year' and Max Prep’s 2015 'Small Schools Coach of the Year.'
Gallagher's selflessness drives his efforts to advance youth football in the Tri-state area. Outside of Maine-Endwell, he has led numerous New York State High School Football Coaches Association Football Clinics. Gallagher is also a mentor for new football coaches in the region and meets with them to discuss coaching techniques and building successful teams.
Most importantly, his successful coaching career is a testament to his ability to form relationships with his athletes on and off the field. As a former collegiate student-athlete, Gallagher relates to his students.
Matt Gallagher (1986-1989) wrestled for the Wagner Seahawks at 177 pounds and 190 pounds, and in just three years on Grymes Hill, he posted a school-record 112 wins, including a Wagner-best 54 career dual victories. The three-time team MVP capped off his remarkable career by setting the school single-season standard with 42 wins, while earning a trip to the NCAA Division I Championships. During his senior season, Gallagher also achieved a No. 11 national ranking and was the New England Conference, Metropolitan Conference and New York state champion at 190 pounds.
In accordance with his passion for athletics, Gallagher stepped up as the head varsity wrestling coach two years ago.
"It is safe to say if you are looking for Coach Gallagher, you can find him in one of three places: the field, mat or the fitness center," Hores said. "On rare occasions, when he is home, he has his computer on his lap watching film and discussing football with his sons."
Matt and his wife Julie have been married for 30 years and have three sons – Kyle, Adam and Drew. Gallagher coached each of his sons at Maine-Endwell to a state championship title. Kyle, Adam and Drew all matriculated at top universities and participated in various sports throughout their college experiences.
Outside his immediate family, Gallagher took in one of his football athletes, Darnell Woolfolk, after a 2011 flood. Darnell earned a scholarship to West Point Academy and became captain of the school's football team as a senior. Today, Darnell, his wife and his daughter are still a part of the Gallagher family.
Gallagher recognizes the importance of academics, so it's no surprise that his football team is recognized as a NYSPHSAA Scholar Athlete Team each year. As such, more than three quarters of his roster maintains a grade point average of at least 90 percent.
Gallagher instills values in his athletes off-the-field, too. In the aftermath of the 2011 Tropical Storm Lee, Maine-Endwell football players served meals and cleaned out houses to mitigate flood damage. Today, the team continues to help around the community by serving as mentors for elementary students, coaching in the youth leagues and volunteering at youth practices and camps.
In their own school community, Gallagher's team frequently donates the 50-50 raffle to the M-Eals program – the student-run foodbank.
Matt honors the tradition and history of Maine-Endwell football. He recognizes two student-athletes that embody the head coach's predecessors. The Dick Russ True Grit Award honors a player who shows true grit and toughness on the field, and the Regan Beers Lunchbox Award distinguishes a player who works hard without seeking recognition. Matt also hosts an annual alumni game and recognizes each former player on the field at halftime and at an ensuing reception.
Gallagher spoke candidly when informed of the accolade. "The love for what I do is only exceeded by the love for my family. Every day, I get a chance to be with the best kids and the best coaches in the best school, which is part of the best community," he gleamed. "The feeling you get being part of Maine-Endwell is something that cannot be explained. It's something that the only way you will truly understand it is if you live it."
He concluded with an admirable ode to his school community. "Being a Maine-Endwell Spartan is a way of life, and boy what a life it is."
2022 Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Week Honorees Presented by Gatorade
Week 1 – Vaughan Labor, Binghamton High School Girls Flag, Binghamton, NY
Week 2 – Matt Cunningham, Brewster High School Girls Flag, Brewster, NY
Week 3 – Kevin Ware, Albany High School, Albany, NY
Week 4 – Steve Dunn, Rutherford High School, Rutherford, NJ
Week 5 – Mike Arakelian, Hackettstown High School, Hackettstown, NY
Week 6 – Jay Ciraco, Harrison High School, Harrison, NY
Week 7 – Kevin Hennelly, West Morris Central High School, West Morris, NJ
Week 8 – Will Nahan, Randolph High School, Randolph, NJ
Week 9 – Chuck Johnson, Ridgewood High School, Ridgewood, NJ
Week 10 – Brian Dunn, Old Tappan High School, Old Tappan, NY
2022 Coach of the Year: Matt Gallagher, Maine-Endwell High School, Maine-Endwell, NY