As Charlie Gallagher takes the helm of the Princeton High football program, he has some good coaching role models around him.
“We have a lot of great programs at high school, the swimming with Greg Hand and the soccer with Wayne Sutcliffe and Greg Hand, and the lacrosse with Peter Stanton,” said Gallagher, an assistant for PHS, who is taking over for Joe Gargione after he posted a 5-25 record guiding the Little Tigers over the last three seasons.
“Winning programs attract the kids. We need to create a culture of winning. We need to start winning games.”
Having spent five seasons as an assistant at PHS and a stint with the Princeton University sprint football team, Gallagher felt he was ready for the promotion to head coach.
“I have a really good rapport with the football players; I have a good foundation for football,” said Gallagher, who teaches television/filmmaking and multi-media at PHS.
“I have coached the freshman team the last three years. A lot of those kids didn’t have much or any experience. I have experience on both sides of the ball, both offensively and defensively. I have also coached all defensive backs and wide receivers for the varsity team.”
Gallagher is looking forward to the experience of leading the Little Tigers. “I told the players when I met with them that it is a dream come true,” said Gallagher.
“I am terribly excited. I am forever indebted to John Miranda [Athletics Director] and Gary Snyder [PHS Principal] to be given an opportunity like this. I want to take the bull by the horns.”
With PHS coming off a 2-8 season, Gallagher is hitting the ground running.
“We have 10-12 guys in the weight room this spring, which is good, but I would like to have more,” said Gallagher.
“I may institute some morning workouts. Some of the spring sports guys have come to me saying they would be excited to lift. We are getting the playbook together. It is pretty extensive. It is good to get it started in March, putting it on paper is good.”
Another item on Gallagher’s to-do list is putting his coaching staff together. “Scott Goldsmith will stay on the staff,” said Gallagher. “We are looking outside for some good football coaches with character.”
While the Little Tigers have displayed plenty of character over the years, Gallagher knows his players have to execute better on both sides of the ball to get back on the winning track.
“One of the things we need to do is to score more points; we need to get after the quarterback on defense,” said Gallagher.
“We scored about 100 points last season and gave up around 300. I am more of a triple option guy on offense, I think it is a big threat with three guys who could get the ball. We will still do power football with traps, dives and off tackle plays. I am not sure what our defense will look like. I have an idea; I like the 50-front. Most high school teams run first so we need to be able to stop the run.”
In order to bolster the PHS program, Gallagher knows he has to get out in the community to spark interest.
“I am focused on the high school but I need to be a liaison, an ambassador of football in Princeton,” said Gallagher.
“We need more kids on the middle school playing football. Even if they are not playing in Princeton, they can play in Montgomery, Millstone, or wherever. We need more kids playing in seventh and eight grades.”
Getting more kids playing on the varsity is a key priority for Gallagher.
“We had 41 kids at our preseason meeting,” said Gallagher.
“If we can keep those kids and get 10-15 freshmen in here that would be good. We need 22 to have a full offense and defense. We aren’t going to have that in the near future so the expectations are that a lot of kids are going to have to go both ways. We want to change that eventually.”