For 39 seasons Lookout Valley's Joe Galloway sat in the shadow of the bench while his basketball teams played in the spotlight. But on Friday, it was Coach's turn to bask in the limelight for a while.
Galloway has made it official that this will be his last season coaching. Between the girls' and boys' games when Lookout Valley hosted Signal Mountain, Galloway was honored for his years of service to the school's athletics programs.
With his family and his boys' team gathered around him at center court, Galloway was presented a picture frame that inside included a picture of his first team -- the 1975-76 Lady Yellow Jackets -- above a picture of his final team.
Friday was Lookout Valley's home opener and his wife, Cheryl, kept the scorebook for both games. His three children -- Kristen, Keith and Katie -- were in attendance. Kristen, a 1994 graduate, and Katie (2000) played high school basketball for their father. Keith (1998) didn't get the chance but has been convinced that was no big deal.
"According to my sisters it's not," he said wryly.
But as it turned out all three have followed Dad into the basketball coaching profession. Kristen, now head coach of the Lady Jackets, asssited him with the girls' team at first. She moved into her current position a few years ago when boys' coach Darren Crownover, who has three daughters, wanted to move to the middle school girls' position, so Joe took over the boys' program.
"I spent so much time with him growing up as a kid," Kristen said of her father. "We were always around the gym. I love it here. I don't know anything else."
Keith said he didn't need to be on a court or a practice field to receive guidance and instruction from his father -- whether in football, basketball or baseball.
"I wanted to get into coaching because I could see the fun he had and the relationships he developed," said Keith, currently the boys' coach at Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville. "It wasn't about winning. Being around sports I saw you can influence people in a positive way."
Katie spent five years as a high school head coach -- two at Tullahoma and three at Ringgold. Presently she is an assistant to Jim Foster at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she and Keith's wife, Jennifer, played.
"I was always going to do what my daddy did," Katie said.
She had a little flashback Friday late in the girls' game when she saw Crownover, who assists Kristen with the high school team, yell at his freshman daughter Beth.
"I remember those days," Katie said. "Dad used to get frustrated with me -- and with good reason."
Joe is a 1965 graduate of Tyner High School and was selected all-city in basketball and baseball as a senior. It was while he served in the U.S. Navy (1968-72) he began coaching and was also a player/coach. Before that he had attended Sewanee, but he returned to school at the University of Tennessee and majored in physical education and health.
He and Cheryl lived in East Brainerd for a year after he was hired, then moved to Lookout Valley and have been there since.
"I decided after one year this was where I wanted to be," Joe said.
He has also coached baseball, football, volleyball and golf at times in his career. He guided the baseball team to a state title in 1980. And although he claims Kirkman coach Juanita Merrill as his mentor in volleyball, it was his team that halted her team's 81-match winning streak.
Lookout Valley's Joe C. Galloway Gymnasium was dedicated in 2005. Four years later he retired from teaching. He was elected to his current position on the Hamilton County School Board in 2010.
But this is the last season he'll officially be Coach Galloway. He made the decision five years ago, knowing this would be Chase's senior year.
That grandchild will be grown, so now he can go to work on Keith's, 100 or so miles away.
"I wouldn't quit, but I'm doing it because my grandbabies are out of town," Joe said. "Basketball is a long season. I can't get up there and see them enough."
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com at 423-757-6653. Follow him at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.