With Lindsay softball head coach Robin Hess stepping down, newly hired coach Preslee Gallaway hasn’t exactly gotten to get her feet wet and meet the athletes, but that isn’t keeping her enthusiasm down.
Gallaway has spent much of her time on the job picking the brains of Hess and other coaches planning the new outlook of the Lady Knights.
Gallaway said being able to learn from Hess has been a great start to her coaching career and she admitted it is weird to be hired before school is technically over.
“Some of the girls turned their stuff in and I’m thankful and it’s a blessing in disguise being able to pick coach Hess and coach [Makala] Neighbors’ brains 24-7,” Gallaway said. “I’ve got a chance to prepare and work on things with the coaches.”
Success is in Gallaway’s blood, winning a state title for Pilot Point in 2013 before moving on to play at Louisiana Tech University.
Graduating in 2019, this will be Gallaway’s first coaching job.
At first, Gallaway had plans on doing physical therapy, but her love of the game brought her back to coaching.
“I’ve done lessons here and there in college and in summers when I would come home, but this is my first official coaching job,” Gallaway said. “I’m very excited. I’ve always loved the game since I was little. I graduated with a kinesiology degree, so after I graduated I started with physical therapy, but I wanted to get back to the game and give everything to the girls while I’m young. I can show them different ways to do things on the field and put life back into the game.”
Gallaway says she can’t wait to officially start coaching.
“Right now with the virus, it’s kind of hard to get in there and know all the girls,” Gallaway said. “Whenever they turn their stuff in, I’ll put a name to a face and they’ll be comfortable with me and it won’t be a drastic change. I wasn’t looking for a head coaching position and I was looking to get my feet wet, but my offers were as a head coach and coach [Jeff] Smiley helped me feel comfortable.”
Despite not being able to meet the team properly, Gallaway has started on the team’s schedule and begun ordering equipment in the meantime.
“I’m on my toes ready to roll,” Gallaway said. “As a coach, you have to step aside and think about what’s best for the team. I’m not a player anymore and once I get in there, I think I’ll be fine. I’m ready for the season to start in the fall and not the spring. I’m used to softball being in the fall and spring in college, but I have to tell myself I have to wait now.”
During her time at Louisiana Tech, Gallaway said she learned a lot about herself and about being a leader.
“I was the team captain my senior year at Louisiana Tech and that had a big impact on my life,” Gallaway said. “We had core values at school and if you weren’t showing those, you weren’t representing the team at all. Whenever I was recruited at Louisiana Tech, I wasn’t supposed to be a pitcher and I then I was asked to pitch. I didn’t care what I was going to play. You have to really dial in mentally and go at it.”
As for how she will take her experiences at Louisiana Tech and impress them on her own team, Gallaway said she wants her players to stay accountable and disciplined.
“Having passion and integrity goes a long way too,” Gallaway said. “If your teammates see that you’re ready to go 100 miles per hour, your teammates will follow. Our motto at Louisiana Tech was ‘All Aboard’ and our train wasn’t stopping. Coaching these girls, if you’re hopping on, we’re not stopping. We’re going. It isn’t just about one person.”
Gallaway didn’t know much about the Lindsay softball program at first, but after she did her research, she knows she has some big shoes to feel.
“I have to live up to coach Hess’s legacy,” Gallaway said. “I definitely want to piggyback on her and take this as far as I can. I’ve looked at scores and records and done my research at the junior high. I’ve been digging. Not only softball, but volleyball was really successful. Coach Neighbors talked to me about that stress and I can relate to her. I’m in her shoes now and she’s helping me feel better about it.”
Finding her own style and not feeling too much pressure about replacing Hess will be key, according to Gallaway.
“I think this first year, I’m not too worried about being too technical,” Gallaway said. “I want to get the girls to know me and get to trust me and my process. Even though coach Hess has been there for a long time, everything isn’t going to be the same. I want them to know that I’ll give my 100%. At the end of the day, I want to become better people and better athletes.”
Gallaway’s coaches at Louisiana Tech used to call her a bulldog and she said she will take that attitude with her to Lindsay.
“I think I’m definitely a go-getter,” Gallaway said. “I think that’s how I am as a coach. I have a goal in mind and nobody is stopping me. I think I’ve been that way my whole life to be honest. I’m determined and I want my girls to be determined to no matter what their doing.”