Gallo running Rome in Land O'Lakes baseball
Local sports enthusiast gives up Lannon Youth Baseball after 15 years
Brian Gallo knows one thing for certain: he's got a major passion for sports. He's played, he's coached and officiated sports at various levels, and now he's back coaching in the Land O' Lakes Baseball League after concentrating his efforts on the Lannon Youth Baseball program for the past 15 years.
Gallo, who played for the Lannon Stonemen in the early 1980s and was the skipper of the Stonemen for two years in the mid-80s, is in his second year as the manager of the Rome Raiders, a longtime entry in the LOL Southwestern Division.
"My son (Adam, a former standout at Hamilton High School) didn't think he'd get much playing time right out of high school for Lannon, so my nephew, Jeff Smith, asked him if he wanted to join Rome's team a few years ago," Brian Gallo said. "He certainly wanted to. He loves baseball so he made the decision to go."
It didn't take dad much time to get the itch to coach again at the amateur level.
"I love the game and I love Land O'Lakes baseball, so I just approached them, and they thought it would be a good idea to have a manager that wasn't a player," Brian Gallo said.
The former player-manager, Steve Pederson, handed the reins to Brian.
"I really wasn't sure what they had planned for me," Gallo said. "I'm still not sure if this is a year-to-year deal, but I'm having a ton of fun. We've got a young team, with 22 players between 19 and 27. Steve is the oldest player on the team."
For 15 years, Brian Gallo, with assistance of wife Cheryl, spent countless hours directing Lannon Youth Baseball. The program thrived, with boys and girls from the area ages 4-14 participating. Gallo said the organization's no-cut policy was a key component.
"My last year coaching U14s, we had 18 kids," Gallo said. "We played in two different leagues and found playing time for everyone. I just think youth sports is about playing, not telling a kid he doesn't deserve to."
Gallo believes Lannon Youth Baseball, with new leaders Pat Pfersch and Doug Wittmann in charge, is in good hands.
"I've heard a lot of positive things about the way these guys are handling things," Gallo said. "I know how much work is involved, but I think they're going to do an excellent job keeping the program running."
Gallo, who kept score at Hamilton High School basketball games in recent years, is thankful for his days with Lannon Youth Baseball.
"Over the years I've met a lot of quality people," Brian Gallo said. "I love watching kids grow up and excel in high school at whatever sport they're interested in. We've got a great community here, and I'm grateful to be a part of it."