By Christopher Smith
---- — Michaela Galvin is looking for longevity — for both her and the Salem girls basketball program.
During Galvin’s four years playing basketball at Salem High, the Blue Devils went 49-39, but perhaps they would have done better if they had not had two different varsity head coaches during that span.
Galvin, who is just 23 and a third grade teacher in Pelham, is the new varsity head coach at Salem. She calls the position her “dream job” and hopes to provide the stability the program lacked when she was as high schooler.
“I’m not just taking the job because I want my name out there as a varsity coach,” said Galvin of Windham. “It really means something to me. I want to help these girls and build and strengthen their character and their basketball game. And I want to build the Salem program because when I was there, we never had a consistent head coach, and we really didn’t have a strong feeder program.”
Galvin replaces 2012-13 Eagle-Tribune Girls Basketball Coach of the Year Annie Alosa who accepted a full-time assistant coaching position at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. Alosa was one of the youngest coaches in any sport in the state when she was hired by Salem at 24 two years ago.
Athletic director Dave Rozumek decided on an even younger coach this time when selecting Galvin who graduated from Salem in 2008 and Plymouth State in 2012.
Like Alosa, Galvin also played basketball at Plymouth State. The two never played on the same team because Alosa is slightly older. But they are friendly with each other.
“Annie and I will be compared because we’re both young, but we’re very different,” Galvin said. “We have very different personalities, and I think Dave just saw that I’m passionate about the game and that it’s somewhere I really want to be.”
Galvin would love to be Salem’s coach long term.
“I’d like to strengthen the feeder program from elementary school up,” she said. “So I’m communicating with rec departments and setting up all those different things even outside of just the high school varsity team.”
Galvin, who was an assistant at Pelham last year, takes over a Salem program that finished 13-10 overall and 12-8 in Division 1 last year. The team should be one of the best programs in Division 1 and has a great deal of returning experience and talent, including senior guard Emily Hickey, an Eagle-Tribune All-Star who averaged 15.7 points with 52 3-pointers last winter.
“The thing about this group is that I’ve noticed their style is definitely fast-paced,” Galvin said. “They like to push the ball up the floor, and I like that play. We have a good nine or 10 girls that can keep subbing in for one another and run the floor. You wear teams down that way.
“I think another strength is that they can play a lot of different defenses,” Galvin added. “And so they can be strong in a match-up zone and when a team gets used to that, we can run a press or a pressuring man-to-man defense.”
Galvin never thought about becoming a high school coach during her playing days.
“And then when college was over, the reality kind of set in that I’m done playing, but I love the game so much that I had to keep it as part of my life,” she said. “I already had been coaching at camps since I was in high school.”
One of her former Plymouth teammates got her in touch with Jim Duggan, who runs the Nashua Flames AAU program. Galvin was offered the high school JV coaching position at Pelham soon after accepting her teacher position there.
“ And I just felt in coaching I was as much in my element as when I was a player,” she said.