Posted: Apr 06, 2018
Chabot College legend Ed Galigher was a standout heavyweight wrestler and defensive lineman with the Gladiators in 1968-69, but his baseball power was largely untapped.
At least that's the way Galigher jokingly recalls of his baseball experience.
Galigher, who was inducted into the CCCAA Hall of Fame on March 28 at Hilton Concord as part of the five-person class, impressively played three sports as a Chabot freshman.
He went on to play football at UCLA and with the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers.
But Galigher could pound a baseball too. He just wishes he could have gotten a few more swings in at Chabot after making first-team all-league on the diamond at Sunset High.
"I always gave (legendary Chabot baseball coach) Gene Wellman a hard time because he hardly ever played me," Galigher recalled with a chuckle. "'Gene, I got up five times, never struck out. Got two hits, I batted .400, I was probably your highest-average player.' Gene always had me in the mentality of the meat-eating, wrestling, football-player guy."
All kidding aside, Galigher holds dear his time at Chabot, which served as a springboard to a prolific football career. The Jets' fourth-round draft pick in 1972, he played alongside legendary NFL stars Joe Namath and John Riggins.
Fellow 2018 CCCAA Hall of Fame inductee, the famed Dick Vermeil coached Galigher at UCLA.
"I've known Dick for years," Galigher said of the man who guided the St. Louis Rams to the 1999 Super Bowl title. "He was the big name on the ticket."
Galigher, who lives in Southern California, still is very much a part of the Gladiator family. Among his close friends are his former Chabot wrestling coaches Zack Papachristos and Bob Thomsen and ex-football coach Keith Calkins.
"Ed was one of the great ones we had at Chabot," Papachristos says.
Galigher left to play football at UCLA during a stellar sophomore wrestling season at Chabot. He had a 10-0 record at the time, including two wins over the eventual state champion. As a freshman, he finished third in the state.
During the football season, Galigher was a dominant lineman. He was selected to the all-conference first-team and was honorable mention All-American. His sophomore season, Chabot advanced to the state semifinals with 11 all-conference first-team players.
Galigher's longtime friend and partner, Jay Craney, was Golden Gate Conference Player of the Year as a linebacker.
"But that's how good we were. We were very good," Galigher recalled.
Galigher feels he became a man at Chabot after graduating high school at the young age of 17.
"There was just a completely different person going into Chabot College and coming out of Chabot College, both physically and academically and from a maturity standpoint," he recalls. "Chabot was the place where I grew up, really."
After his NFL career, Galigher returned to Chabot where he helped coach the football and wrestling teams before beginning a career as a real estate advisor for a major investment company. He is a member of the Chabot College Athletic Hall of Fame and the CCCAA Football Coaches Hall of Fame.
At the March 28 ceremony, Galigher had family and close friends seated at his table, including his mom Barbara, wife Kathleen, and daughter, Kelley, along with Calkins, and Papachristos. It all made for a special event.
"Zack's one of my closest friends. We play golf, we socialize, we do things together," Galigher says. "I see Keith now and then. I used to play racquetball with Keith. These guys are my friends, not just my mentors. … Keith will be 80 next year, Zack and Bob Thomsen are already in their early 80s, and these guys … it's funny, you can't tell any difference other than their hair color than when they were coaching."
Also inducted in the 2018 CCCAA Hall of Fame class were Vermeil (Napa Valley College, football coach, 1963-64); Christine (Tanaka) Jang (Cosumnes River, gymnast, 1977-79); Aisha Maston (Bakersfield, track and field, 1996-97); and Dick Tucker (Orange Coast, football coach, 1962-85).