East Penn Press

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Gallagher takes over girls basketball team

Friday, July 21, 2017 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

After somewhat of a revolving door of coaches for girls basketball, Emmaus is hoping that by going a completely different direction with their latest hire, they’ll find stability at that helm. Kelsey Gallagher, an assistant at Stroudsburg High School for the past couple of seasons, was introduced as Emmaus’ new head coach at a press conference last week.

In hiring Gallagher, athletic director Dennis Ramella has gone with a younger coach as opposed to the hirings over the recent years. After some successful seasons, Billy Dunn took over the program in 2011 and coached three seasons with a mark of 37-33 and two appearances in the District 11 playoffs. Jeff Williams coached for one season before family demands took him out of the area, leading him to resign following the 2014-15 season. Veteran coach Carl Scheitrum was handed the reins and coached two seasons for Emmaus.

“It’s no secret that we’ve had a revolving door here for the last 10 years,” said Ramella, adding that he believes Gallagher will provide consistency for the program.

. “In 2008 we were in the state semifinals, one game away from playing for the state championship, and for a variety of reasons, we’ve dropped off since then.”

The question of consistency was something that Ramella and Gallagher discussed at length during the interview process. Gallagher believes that consistency doesn’t only come from the coaching staff at the varsity level, but that coaches, parents and players have to stay consistent even in the youth programs that serve as a feeder program for the varsity level. Gallagher also believes that having had multiple coaches in a short time has hurt the team’s play on the court.

“The girls just get used to doing something one way and the next thing, all of that changes,” said Gallagher. “Now, they’re expected to do things a different way. Then, when that happens over and over, it makes it impossible for the girls to provide any consistent play on the court.”

Gallagher brings a history of success along with her. In both high school and college she surpassed the 1,000-point mark, scoring 1,562 points at East Stroudsburg South and then knocking down 1,714 points at Bloomsburg University. She was all-conference, all-state and All-American in addition to being named the Player of the Year in both the Mountain Valley Conference and the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Kelsey, along with her sisters Cori and Carly, were inducted into the Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame this past May for their play in multiple sports.

Before being officially announced as the team’s head coach, Gallagher served as a “visiting coach” for the team during the Holy Infancy Tournament. Her debut came this past weekend as the team’s coach during SportsFest in Allentown.

“I’ve been impressed with the girls and how I’ve asked them to do something and they’ve gone out and have been able to do what we ask of them on the court,” Gallagher said. “To take to the direction that quickly and be able to pick things up that fast is phenomenal.”

As for surrounding herself with quality assistants, Gallagher moved quickly and named Dallas Ely, who was an All-American at West Chester as her assistant coach at the varsity level. Josh Madas moves from being the team’s freshman coach to serving as the JV coach and Mike Carolla, who is a teacher at Emmaus, will serve as the freshman coach.

Gallagher didn’t take leaving her job as an assistant at Stroudsburg lightly, but after seeking advice from her high school and college coaches along with input from her family, she decided there was no reason not to apply for the Emmaus job.

“The truth is, that you never know when an opportunity like this is going to come along again,” said Gallagher. “Everybody told me that they thought I should apply for the job, so it just reinforced what I was thinking. So, here I am.”