The man behind Lasell men’s hoops: Aaron Galletta

*The 1851 Chronicle recognizes a mistake in the printed version of this story. The quote “If he knows something is going on in your life, he shows his concern. For instance, two seasons ago I had to get knee surgery and he checked up on me,” was printed as being said by junior guard Derek McMahon. McMahon did not say this and the quote has been retracted from the online version of this story. We apologize for the misprint.*

By Danielle Rafuse – Contributing Writer

Men’s basketball coach Aaron Galletta grew up in Hyde Park, N.Y. constantly surrounded by basketball. He never thought it would impact him this much, but he is in his eleventh season as Head Coach at Lasell.

Teammates John Powell (L) and Tim Blair (R) listen to Coach Galletta as he explains the game plan. (Photo by Corinne Ciraldo)

As a kid, Galletta attended a basketball camp run by Duane Davis, who later became Galletta’s high school basketball coach his freshman year. “I grew up going to his basketball camps and idolized him. He was a big reason for my success as a player growing up,” said Galletta. Davis would eventually give Galletta his first coaching job and become one of his biggest inspirations.

Galletta attended Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. He was a four-year member of the men’s basketball program and a member of the 1,000 point club, finishing with 1,949 points. In his final season, Galletta became a league champion and would go on to compete in the NCAA Tournament. His coach at Union, Bob Montana, was a second inspiration on his basketball life.

“He had a huge impact on my coaching career. His knowledge of the game and incredible attention to detail are two traits that I’ve tried to emulate through- out my career,” said Galletta.

Galletta began his coaching career at Mount Saint Mary’s College. After one season there, Galletta said his parents told him to get a real job. He worked for a law firm in New York, but disliked it. Montana informed Galletta about the opportunity at Lasell. He jumped at the chance and has been a member of the Lasell community since 2004.

He started off as an assistant for two years before being promoted to Head Coach. In 2008, Galletta led the Lasers to a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship.

“I would have to say my favorite memory [at Lasell] would have to be the championship season in 2008,” said Galletta. However, Galletta emphasized how different every team is. “Every team is so different and I remember different things from each team.”

Galletta has his own techniques of how to run a practice. He makes a schedule prior to every practice that has an inspirational quote at the top. The morning of each practice, he tries to prepare a plan based on what he believes the team needs to improve on most.

“Everything is down to the minute and it is prepared in a certain way so the practice flows. It is important that it flows because you can’t just stand around or your guys will get cold,” Galletta said.

Galletta has his own unique coaching philosophies during games as well. One of these includes “winning every three minutes.”

At the Division I and II levels, media timeouts occur every three minutes during games. “If the guys need to refocus and I think they’re not as focused, I remind them to just win these three minutes. It gets them refocused and it gets them playing a little harder,” Galletta said.

Coach Joe Cabral is in his third season working as Assistant Coach under Galletta and appreciates his knowledge of the game. “Coach Galletta is very hands-on,” Cabral said. Cabral came back to Lasell after a year of coaching at Rhode Island College. “Working with Coach Galletta has been great. We really work well together hand and hand. He has a very high IQ of the game. He has played at this level and has coached teams to the NCAA tournament, so I really enjoy working with him,” he said.

Junior guard Derek McMahon is in his second season playing for Galletta and understands Galletta’s coaching style. “He is very articulate and specific with what he wants,” McMahon said.

Many students at Lasell may only get an impression of Galletta as they see him on the court during games and don’t know the coach’s real personality.

Senior Bridget Delaney had the opportunity to work in the Sport Information Office during the fall of 2015 and was constantly around Galletta. “Coach Galletta may seem like an intimidating basketball coach, but behind that is a caring, funny, passionate basketball coach,” Delaney said. “Galletta really cares about the members on his team. He wants them to be successful both on and off the court.”

Sports Information Director Emily Machado works in the office directly across from Galletta’s in the Athletic Center. When asked for five words that came to mind about Galletta, Machado said, “dedicated, organized, hard-working, passionate, and resilient.” Off the court, Galletta is known to be “hilarious, witty, and caring,” Machado said.

Galletta offers a humorous side to his coaching as well.

“Sometimes he may be very serious and the next he will be making fun of Armin [Omanovic]. [There is] one moment that really surprised me and it was when he told us to turn up Meek Mill on the bus. I will never forget that,” McMahon said.

Galletta has coached some very talented players in his career. Senior captain Omanovic can be added to that list. He has played for Galletta for two seasons after transferring here.

“Coach Galletta makes this all possible for all of us. He never wants any credit but deserves the most for everything he does,” Omanovic said. “He has taught me so much about life and has been the best role model a kid in college could ask for.”

At time of publication, Omanovic leads the NCAA DIII men’s basketball in total points, 602, and has received three GNAC Player of the Week awards this season. On January 21, Omanovic became the twelfth Laser to reach the 1,000 point milestone and did so in just 44 games.

When asked about these accomplishments, Omanovic said, “It is truly an honor. I could not do it without coach trusting me to take some of the shots I do. It is a great accomplishment. It means a lot to me especially being on the list with so many other great players that played here. I’m glad to be the name right after Sean Bertanza [who died in 2012], which I know means a lot to Coach as well. This is all for my teammates and my family. I give all credit to them. I could not do it without my teammates, my close friends, and family.”

Before Omanovic, there was former captain of the Lasers RJ O’Brien who played for Galletta from 2012-2016 and said, “I am extremely thankful and fortunate for being able to play under Coach Galletta for four years. One of the biggest takeaways from having him as a Head Coach is how to face adversity and take the steps to overcome it.”

“Galletta’s coaching mentality changed my work ethic and how I approach all situations in life,” O’Brien said. As a player, O’Brien said Galletta taught him “to leave everything we have on the floor from blood, sweat, to tears. If you come back into the locker room with anything left in the tank, it meant that we did not try hard enough.”

Galletta has impacted many people over the years and wants his players to be better athletes and better people as well. The Head Coach has led the Lasers to a 14-8 record this season (10-4 in GNAC) with the team’s next contest being the alumni game at home on Saturday, February 11 against Emmanuel. The game will honor former Laser Sean Bertanza.

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