By Bridget Delaney
Aaron Galletta took the position of Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the beginning of the 2006 season. Ten years later, he has seen great success and tragic loss with the Lasers.
Photo by Tom Horak
What is different about the men’s basketball team this year than in previous years?
We have seniors that are playing and contributing both on and off the court so our senior leadership has really helped us this year. I think we are playing more together and as a team and we are executing on both ends of the floor.
Tell me your best memory as a coach at Lasell.
The year we won the championship, it was 2008.
What is your favorite memory from your time as a player at Union?
My senior year when we won the league championship. It’s been a long time since we won a league championship here. Definitely as a player it was winning the league and then going to the NCAA tournament.
What sparked your passion for basketball?
My dad threw me in a high chair when I was just six years old and threw me in front of a TV with basketball. My dad played and just got into it from there. I just played all the way through high school and college and then got into coaching shortly after.
Did you play any other sports growing up?
I played baseball and then once I hit high school I started concentrating more on basketball and the AAU circuit. I just wanted to get better at basketball.
You recently got your 100th conference win at St. Joseph’s College of Maine. How would you describe the journey you have been on and how the landmark win impacted you, if at all?
It didn’t impact me at all. It’s just a matter of trying to win the game that night so I didn’t know that it was the hundredth win, I was just trying to focus on that game and once that game is over, focus on the next game. It’s nice to get, it means I’ve been here a while, it means I’ve coached some good teams, but at the end of the day I am just focused on this team, right now, today.
Do you have any outside hobbies outside of basketball?
I like to play golf. I am an avid golfer in the spring and summer in the short months that New England has to offer. I started playing a lot more after college. You know, college kids don’t have a lot of money, and golf is an expensive sport. So, I played a lot more after college and I have a few college friends up in the area and we play in the spring and summer.
How has your team reacted to their success this year?
I think it’s been good because we have seniors on the team that have been through the grind of a basketball season and understand what it takes to win games and to not look too far ahead. Seniors, and a transfer with Armin, so we have a lot of upperclassmen that have played before and understand the daily grind that college basketball season is. If you start looking ahead too far you’re not going to be successful. So I think they did a good job with staying focused in the present moment and I told them last night after we lost, “we are just going to get better in practice within the next two days and focus on Saturday.”
What is your favorite part of coaching basketball at Lasell?
The players. The relationship you have with the players. I’ve mentioned our senior’s RJ and Logan, they are four year guys for me, so they have been through the program. They understand and they know what I expect out of them. Pat, he’s a two-year guy but he came in with some leadership qualities. Having upperclassmen is great because they can kind of teach the younger guys what the program is about and what the expectations are. I like seeing the guys develop from the time they are a freshman to the time they graduate. Once guys come back, that’s also another thing, we are having our alumni weekend this Saturday so it’ll be nice to see some of the old guys come back and tell stories about their time here. Coaching is about the student athletes, their development and your relationship with them over the years.
Going into your coaching, did you have any role models or inspiration?
Yes, my high school coach, Coach Dwayne Davis. He got me into coaching. He coached me a year in high school and then he went on to Mount Saint Joseph’s College in New York. After I graduated from Union he said, “Why don’t you come help out?” … I said, “No I really can’t, I’m still looking for jobs.” … He said, “Come for a day, I think it’ll be a big help for us.” So I went and I ended up staying for a year and really got into the coaching aspect. So I owe him a lot for my playing career as well, also for my coaching career. I would have never gotten into it if it wasn’t for him. He passed away three years ago, so he was a role model and someone who really got me on this journey as a coach.
In your career, what has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
The death of Sean Bertanza three years ago. The seniors now were freshman on that team and that’s something I don’t wish upon anyone to go through as a coach or as a player. It was a really emotional and tough time for our program. Looking into our guy’s eyes here every day and knowing that he’s gone, he was such a big part of the program, and this school, so that was a very difficult time for Lasell Basketball and really the Lasell community.
Which season is your most memorable, why?
In 2008 when we won the championship. Cutting down the nets, seeing those guys cut down the nets, I did it as a player and to see it as a coach was really a great thing to witness. But you know, every year is so different. I enjoy this team; I hope for good things for this team because it’s a good group of guys. I don’t want to upset any of my other teams that I’ve had, but I think that every year you have special memories and moments that you create and that’s part of being a coach. In 2008, winning the championship that year was very special, but this year’s team has been a fun ride with them and you just don’t want it to end.
Do you have a coaching philosophy that you use when leading the Lasers?
Yes, my coaching philosophy kind of changes here and there over the years, but it’s mostly about accountability and preparation. If I can instill those things on my team each year I think we will have a better opportunity for success. Taking that from basketball, and carrying it over to their studies, and once they get out of here in real life. I think being a good member of the community and preparing for games and practice and being accountable for your actions are really my top three things that go under my philosophy.