By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian
The West Virginia University administration has approved the re-hiring of wide receivers coach Lonnie Galloway.
It is a good thing they did.
There may have been a riot had this deal fallen through.
Galloway, who previously coached wide receivers at WVU under Bill Stewart in 2008-10, was one of the most important recruiters during that period, bringing in two of the greatest players ever to play for the Mountaineers.
Galloway was said to be the lead recruiter in bringing the highly decorated wide receiver/running back/returner Tavon Austin to West Virginia as well as being important in the recruitment of defensive end Bruce Irvin, who became a first-round draft selection of the NFL and plays for Seattle.
Austin came to the Mountaineers after a hard recruiting battle as he was offered scholarships by Boston College, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Pitt and Rutgers. It was especially tough because the Mountaineers at that time did not normally have a presence in Baltimore.
“Lonnie Galloway goes into Baltimore, uncharted waters,” Stewart once said of the job he did. “He told me he had a wonderful dinner with grandma, great hospitality, and it couldn’t have been a better home visit. Lonnie went into Baltimore and just knocked those people out. Why? Because he has built a solid relationship with Tavon Austin.”
Irvin had met Galloway while working out at an Atlanta-area high school just before leaving for Mt. San Antonio junior college.
“Keep an eye on me,” Irvin recalls telling Galloway while he was playing at West Virginia and Galloway was Wake Forest’s wide receivers coach.
Galloway told Irvin he would and stayed in contact with him. That fulfilled promise meant plenty to Irvin.
“I met him way before anybody else knew about me,” Irvin said of Galloway.
Galloway coached three bowl teams at WVU before leaving for Wake Forest when Dana Holgorsen replaced Stewart.
“We are excited to welcome Lonnie back to West Virginia,” said Holgorsen. “During his three years here, our players had great respect for him, and he brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm with him to work every day. I look forward to the positive infusion his coaching and recruiting will bring to our program.”
At WVU his prime pupil was Jock Sanders. While in his first season at Wake Forest, Galloway helped Chris Givens earn first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors. He led the ACC with 102.3 receiving yards per game and set a school record with 1,330 yards. Given was a fourth-round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams in the 2012 draft.
Receiver Michael Camprano was third in the ACC this season with 79 catches for 763 yards and three scores.
During Galloway’s first year at Wake, it passed for a school-record 3,291 yards with him as passing game coordinator.
“I enjoyed my previous three years living in Morgantown and working for West Virginia University. I am pleased and excited to have the opportunity to return,” Galloway said in a release from the school. “This is a strong and successful program with a lot of history and tradition, and hopefully I can make a positive impact. I look forward to coaching in the Big 12 and in Coach Holgorsen’s offensive system.”
During his three-year stint at WVU, the Mountaineers went 27-12 with three consecutive 9-4 seasons. In 2010, West Virginia ranked second in the Big East in passing offense and total offense, while leading the league in passing efficiency.
Galloway came to WVU following a three-year stint at Appalachian State, where he coached the wide receivers in 2005 and the split ends in 2006-07. He helped the Mountaineers to three Football Championship Subdivision national titles and coached three receivers who earned All-America honors and coaching in the stunning upset of Michigan that was pulled off by Appalachian State.
From 2003-04, Galloway was the wide receivers coach at East Carolina, where he tutored Terrence Copper, who earned All-Conference USA honors, while setting school records for receptions and receiving yards in a season.
A 1994 graduate of Western Carolina, Galloway was a four-year letterman, who threw for 5,545 yards, the second-highest total in school history. He was All-Southern Conference first team in 1993, when he led the Southern Conference in total offense with 231.9 yards per game.
Galloway finished second in the nation in passing efficiency as a junior in 1992 with a 167.4 rating. He earned three SoCon Offensive Player of the Week awards that included a 322-yard passing game against Georgia Southern in 1993. Galloway finished his career with 6,832 career total offense yards, while completing 355-of-639 career passes for 5,545 yards and 30 touchdowns.
After spending the 1995 season with the Charlotte Rage of the Arena Football League, Galloway started his coaching career in 1996 at Elon, where he served as the quarterbacks and wide receivers coach through 2002. During his time with the Phoenix, Galloway coached Aretka Banks, a two-time all-conference player.
Galloway, a native of Eden, N.C., and his wife, Winslow, are the parents of three children: Anna, Hayes and Griffith.
Email Bob Hertzel at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.