A longstanding athletic institution in South Jersey, Kingsway Athletic Director Joe Galliera has decided to retire from his career of service. Having been in education longer than the majority of Kingsway’s faculty members have been alive, he knew the time was right to go.
“A former colleague once told me you’ll just know when it’s time,” said Galliera. “I want to give my time back to my family, who has given up so much. My children and grandchildren are spread throughout the US, and it’s their time now. I’ve been missing from them for too long.”
Having majored in mechanical engineering at Villanova, Galliera originally intended to have a different career. Tutoring fellow college students in his dynamics class made him reconsider his direction in life and find his passion.
However, he still took a job with an engineering firm. After a few months, he went with his heart and found a job as a math teacher at Camden High School. From there, he continued teaching at Camden Catholic and Bishop Eustace for 23 years total.
Galliera was a baseball coach at Camden Catholic and Bishop Eustace, where he built some of the top programs in South Jersey. He took four teams to the state championship game, winning once.
He also was a many time South Jersey coach of the year and earned a place, as a coach, in the New Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame. He even was one of the people responsible for organizing the prestigious Diamond Classic baseball tournament, which convenes the top 16 teams in South Jersey together, a tournament that his own teams won twice.
Taking the athletic director position on a whim at Bishop Eustace, Galliera has been successful in guiding athletic programs every step of the way. His athletic director travels have taken him from Bishop Eustace to Hammonton to West Deptford to Washington Township to Kingsway.
When he left Washington Township to come to Kingsway in 2002 replacing, Galliera was searching for a smaller, more intimate experience. He relished the ability to be able to cultivate closer relationships with the student-athletes, faculty, and community members.
“There was a time when I used to know everyone in the district,” said Galliera. “I missed those relationships.”
Little did he know that his workload would increase with this move mostly due to Kingsway’s unprecedented growth. When district budget cuts led to the elimination of middle school and freshman sports as well as the threat of eliminating sports like winter track and field, Galliera helped mobilize the faculty and community to help restore the status of these programs. He also facilitated the implementation of the volleyball, lacrosse, and bowling programs, which all have been highly successful in a short amount of time. In 2007, he was honored as the Tri-County Conference athletic director of the year.
When reflecting on the highlights of his career, Galliera mentions many things. He recognizes the tremendous coaches that he supervised, all who had the “winning formula.” He laments his lost time as a teacher, which professionally was more rewarding than anything for him- he is a teacher at heart. They were some of the most fulfilling times for him. Galliera also sings the praises of his wife, Mary Grace, who has been his “rock” for 48 years.
“No successful athletic director can be successful without being lucky enough to have a fabulous partner at home,” said Galliera. “She has carried the load at home for so long. I want to be able to give myself back to her.”
Spoken like a true man of service.