He played a grand total of 16 minutes of basketball all season for the Orediggers. He scored just 6 total points and sat on the bench for the last 28 games. And yet this senior basketball player may have been one of the key reasons that Mines has had such a historic season, as chants of “Gordo Magic” rise from the stands every game without fail.
During the first game of the season, an easy 87-56 win over Black Hills State, senior starting forward Gordon Galloway suffered what he thought was a minor knee injury late in the first half and sat on the bench for the rest of the game. But when the injury lingered weeks later, Galloway knew he was in more trouble than he originally thought, and left to get an MRI. The results were not encouraging and showed that Galloway had torn his right ACL and would likely be done for the remainder of the season. After four more doctors confirmed his fate, Galloway knew that he had played his final game in an Oredigger uniform – just as the team was on the verge of a historic season.
Before the tragic injury, Galloway was one of Mines’ main weapons, scoring 11.4 points per game the during the 2010-2011 season. A three year starter, Galloway was on pace to eclipse the 1000 point mark in his career, and made the Orediggers, already the top-ranked team in the nation, an even more deadly threat in the NCAA Tournament.
But instead of whining, Galloway accepted his fate and vowed to make his teammates better. As soon as he discovered that he would no longer be able to play basketball, Galloway asked to become one of head coach Pryor Orser’s graduate assistants. Orser agreed, and Galloway spent the remainder of the season in a suit and tie, and for the first time in his career, was cheering on his teammates from the bench instead of the floor. For his efforts, and perseverance throughout his career, Gordon
Galloway is this week’s Honorary Athlete of the Week.
[Oredigger] What went through your head when you injured your knee?
[Galloway] For the first couple of weeks, I thought it wasn’t that bad, until I got the MRI and I finally realized that I was done. It hits you quick, but I tried to stay positive.
What is it like to sit back and watch your team play and not be able to be out there with them?
It’s tough losing your senior year, but I got to start for three full years before that and it’s cool to see how people have stepped up in a huge way and forced them to be better than they might have been. And I guess I’m not quite as nervous before games anymore.
What was the biggest transition from being a player to a coach?
I’m still trying to be a leader on the team, that stayed the same. But now it’s like, I help them with their game, and help them with whatever they need.
How do you think you helped coach the team in a way that perhaps your coaches weren’t quite able to do?
Well, I guess I know my teammates and their tendencies and I know what to do to help them improve after playing with them for three years.
Favorite basketball memory?
It would probably be my third year here when we were upset in the RMAC Tournament and thought our season was over. Coach got a call that maybe we could still get into the NCAA Tournament, but we really needed this one team to lose. I remember watching the game with Sean [Armstrong] and that team lost and we started to realize we had a shot to get in.
I called [former CSM player Levi Hamilton] and I remember he was out skiing and thought we were joking and full of it. But we watched the selection show in his basement and when they announced our team, we just went crazy. It was really cool.
What is the hardest part about being a student athlete?
Managing school and athletics. Every student knows how hard it is to get good grades here, and adding basketball on top can make it tough. But it’s not all bad. School can be a grind, and sometimes basketball just takes your mind off it for a little bit.
Favorite aspect of Mines?
I like that it’s a small school. And it’s a lot different than California too. The people here tend to be a little more outgoing and everybody does a different sport. The only bad thing is the weather, but overall it’s just a good place to be.
If you could change one thing about Mines, what would it be?
I’d like to see more fans come to sporting games, to get out of the books more and watch some of our teams. We have some really great sports here, with the soccer team and football, and a really great cross country team too.
What is the nerdiest thing you have seen on campus?
Well, not sure if it’s nerdy, but I like watching when the kids run to buildings in between classes. They have ten minutes to get there, they should be able to relax a little more.
What is the nerdiest thing the basketball team does?
Well, we’ve never had a sound system in our lockerroom, so the electrical engineer side of us came out and we ran wires through the ceiling and installed our own little stereo and sound system.
Favorite class you have taken?
Decision analysis with Dr. M. Walls. I liked it a lot. It’s a cool class for anyone involved in the industries or any large economic decision.
Least favorite class?
Mechanics of Materials. That was the closest to failing I came. I studied really hard for the final, and I was already thinking of how I was going to explain this to my parents. It wasn’t the teacher’s fault, really, I just didn’t put in the effort I needed to.
If you could add one class here what would it be?
I think I would add a rollerblading class. I used to be a pretty good rollerblader back in California and I would cruise around.
Do you have a nerdy habit or hobby?
Not really, but I’ve always wanted to set up a little ammo shop for the humans versus zombies game. You know, set it up on Kafadar and make a little money. It’d be great.
What has your time at Mines taught you?
Probably that you can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t put in the effort, you won’t go anywhere. I’ve seen it in basketball players too, it’s all up to you as to how far you will go.