Coach of the Year: Awards overflow for Merrimack's Gallo after stunning season

Courtesy PhotoJoe Gallo led Merrimack College's men's basketball team to an historic first season in Division 1. 

It may take a long, long time for another coach to be as decorated as Merrimack College men’s basketball coach Joe Gallo was following the 2019-2020 season.

Perhaps the last honor was the most prestigious when he was named NCAA Division 1 Coach of the Year presented by Just Play Solutions. Previous winners include Houston’s Kelvin Sampson (2018-19) and North Carolina’s Roy Williams in 2015-16.

Previously, Gallo was named NEC Coach of the Year and ECAC Coach of the Year. On the national stage, Gallo also received the John McLendon award, presented annually to the top collegiate head coach encompassing all levels of college basketball.

The awards were certainly well deserved for our Eagle-Tribune Coach of the Year.

 In Merrimack’s first year at the Division 1 level, the 40-year-old Gallo led his squad to a historic season, setting the wins record for a program reclassifying to the NCAA’s top division. The Warriors finished the campaign with a record of 20-11, and went an NEC-best 14-4.

Merrimack became the first program ever to win an outright conference title in its first season reclassifying to Division 1. Merrimack’s first win of the season came at Northwestern, marking the first time that a reclassifying program’s first win at the Division 1 level came against a Power Five opponent.

Gallo’s success at Merrimack clearly could have translated to a higher profile coaching position. But, instead, he signed a four-year extension to remain as the Warriors’ head coach.

In addition to being a Merrimack alum and enjoying the area, Gallo is not completely satisfied — none of the great coaches ever are. He wants the Warriors to shine even more in the future.

“The ultimate goal is see Merrimack on the selection Sunday bracket,” said Gallo, who is considered a superb recruiter.

Thus, our Coach of the Year is still looking ahead, which is probably one reason why he has been so successful.



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