La Salle High School head coach Ealar Gallagher and assistant coach Mike DiFiori have accepted assistant coaching positions at Bishop Amat.
Gallagher, who guided the Lancers to the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship game in 2006, will be Bishop Amat’s offensive line coach, while DiFiori, Amat’s former head coach, will serve as the linebackers coach.
Question: Who would be a prime candidate for the La Salle head coaching position?
Left: Former La Salle head football coach Ealar Gallagher
By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer
For a pair of area football coaches, the opportunity to get back to their roots knocked too loudly.
La Salle High School head coach Ealar Gallagher and assistant coach Mike DiFiori are both leaving the school to take assistant coaching positions at Bishop Amat.
Gallagher will take over as offensive line coach, while DiFiori will be in charge of the linebackers.
An assistant for his first seven seasons, Gallagher departs after leading La Salle to a 31-28 record in five seasons as the Lancer head coach.
He guided La Salle to an appearance in the 2006 CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship game. His team posted a 6-6 mark in 2007, losing to eventual champion Santa Clara in the quarterfinals.
I talked to the Amat people a couple of weeks ago and it was a tough decision, Gallagher said. Theres a lot of good people and good kids at La Salle and I have a lot of friendships here. But professionally, this is the best move for me and my family.
The La Salle coach had his mind made up, but wasnt able to meet with school officials until Tuesday, the first day back following the spring break.
Weve been talking about it for a while, but I didnt tell (Principal Pat Bonacci) about it until (Tuesday) morning, said Gallagher, who played at Bishop Amat.
Gallagher and vice principal/athletic director John Matheus addressed the team later in the day.
Ealars had some success here and has built up the program quite well, and were sorry to see him go, Matheus said. Were grateful for his time here.
Bishop Amats new head coach Steve Hagerty had a lot to do with Gallaghers decision.
I played for Coach Hagerty and Ive always had a lot of respect for what hes done, Gallagher said. When he called, it seemed like a great opportunity.
Im an alumnus from Bishop Amat, and theres a lot of people there that I have a lot of respect for.
At the same time, Gallagher leaves La Salle with a heavy heart.
There are a lot of good people here and things are going to be in good hands, Gallagher said. Theyre going to do very well whether Im here or not.
In Gallagher, Hagerty is elated to get a quality young coach.
Any time a head coach can get another head coach on his staff, its a blessing, Hagerty said. Ealars done a nice job at La Salle, but he loves Bishop Amat High School.
DiFiori leaves La Salle after two seasons as an assistant coach.
He returns to the school where he served as head coach from 1999 to 2005, compiling a 41-36 record.
I spent a lot of time there and Steves a great guy, and I think he can do a lot of good things there, and Ill be a part of it, DiFiori said.
One of the things that made DiFioris decision easier was having his family around to help out with his children.
One of the things is that my parents moved to Los Angeles from Northern California, so now I have family that can take care of the kids, which is why I left, DiFiori said.
Amats former head coach also has strong ties to Hagerty which led to his decision.
When I got the job at Amat in 1992, he was still there and we did coaching outings and clinics together, DiFiori said.
Added Hagerty: Mike and I crossed paths. Weve never really coached together, but weve done a lot of football stuff together.
Besides coaching credentials, Gallagher and DiFiori bring an extra intangible to Amat.
I think Mike and Ealar are good men, and that comes before being good coaches, Hagerty said.
Matheus is now in search of a good head coach and assistant at La Salle; a search he expects to be a quick, but thorough process.
Were going to open up the selection process and well have a selecting committee to review and start the interview process as soon as possible, Matheus said. There are various teaching openings, so maybe that person can be an on-campus coach as well.
Were looking for somebody who is program-oriented.