Father and son duo building success at Culver Academies
CULVER, Ind. - Culver Military Academy may offer a different experience than schools in Northern Indiana, but the leader of its basketball team is no stranger to the area.
Mark Galloway played at Bethel College, and then began his coaching career on the staffs at Adams and Penn high schools before moving down Route 31 to Carmel.
But he always knew a move back North was in the cards.
“To be back here closer to Mishawaka and South Bend has been fun,” he said before his eighth sectional tournament as Eagles coach.
Galloway has seen both sides of the win-loss spectrum since taking the job at Culver. His first year in 2011 brought a state championship appearance to a school that had never even won a sectional title.
The very next season resulted in zero wins.
Since then, it’s been a steady climb back to success. Culver has grown to become one of the top 3A teams in the state, winning last year’s sectional title and finishing the current regular season with a 21-3 record.
“We have some really good players,” he said. “And really good players make you look good as a coach.”
Now the focus turns towards the postseason and the chance to represent Culver by making some school history in the state tournament.
And by translating lessons from the classroom to the hardwood, the Eagles believe it’s only a matter of time.
“Culver is very challenging with the leadership system and the military system,” said Galloway. “If you have a good day there, you’re probably going to have a good day in basketball too.
“Respecting the tradition [of Indiana basketball] and the privilege you have to play the game is talked about every day.”
A Family Game
To Mark Galloway, coaching is about connecting to the team.
“Whether you’re at Carmel or at Culver, you want to build relationships with your players,” he said.
But there is a unique relationship with one player in particular.
“He doesn’t really treat me much different,” said Trey Galloway, Mark’s son. “He’s been my coach basically my whole life so it’s nothing new, and he treats everybody the same.”
While Trey may not be coached differently, his talents are beginning to stand out. Just a sophomore, he is already garnering attention from the state’s biggest programs, hoping to sign the next great shooting guard in the Hoosier state.
“It is amping up a little more,” Mark said of his son’s recruitment. “Purdue’s been in here. Indiana was here yesterday. [Notre Dame’s] Mike Brey has made it known he wants to get down here and see our team.”
So far Purdue and IUPUI are the only schools extending a scholarship offers, but that will surely change as Galloway’s recruitment continues into his junior season.
“It’s been good, but kind of overwhelming,” Trey said of the early attention. “But it’s fun to see all the teams and see who’s interested in me and I’m kind of getting interested back in them.
“It’s definitely nice to get around and see all the campuses, see how the different programs are run, see all the different coaches and their style of play.”
While that process unfolds, Galloway knows his game has to improve to match the expectations - both for himself and for his team.
“In the offseason, I’ll be lifting more and developing more of a middle game,” he said. “Working on my jumpshot and being able to finish around the rim more. Just getting stronger.”
Of course, Trey’s father will be there every step of the way.
“[When you] think about how quickly time goes with our seniors, you can relate to how fast time goes with your own son."
Mark’s education in coaching has shown him just how to approach the father-son dynamic. He learned from Mike Lightfoot, who coached his son Ryne. Lightfoot learned from Homer Drew, who coached his son Bryce.
“The best advice I’ve gotten from other coaches is just to enjoy it,” Galloway said. “That’s what I’m trying to do everyday in practice. That’s probably the most time I get to spend with him is in practice, so enjoying it and having fun with it."
As it relates to his team, the elder Galloway says his sophomore shooting guard is developing into the leader Culver will need in the next couple of seasons.
“Even coming in as a freshman last year, if he was the most talented player he wasn’t going to act that way,” he said of Trey. “He listens to the older guys and I think when you’re willing to learn, you’re going to get better every day and that’s what he’s trying to do.”
No matter what school or coach is in the stands, Trey’s goals right now are simple and align with those of the team.
“Get a W,” he said. “Get a win and focus on what the task at hand is and block all that out.”
After tasting success with last winter’s sectional title, the Eagles want to build towards a greater accomplishment.
“We had a lot of talent coming back from last year,” said sophomore Deontae Craig. “We lost some good leaders in three seniors and we only have one this year. But we all have the same goal in mind and that’s to win a state championship.”
That road begins in the 3A Sectional at Washington High School, which coaches in the area believe to be one of the toughest in the entire state.
Still, the Eagles know confidence is the only way to overcome that task.
“We’re as confident as we’ve ever been. We’re really excited,” said junior Ethan Watts. “We feel like we got a good draw. We’re not overlooking teams. We’ve got New Prairie and that’s a good team we’ve got to beat. But we’re confident and excited to get it going.”
Even through the confidence, Galloway has experienced almost every emotion that sectionals can bring, no matter what record the best teams boast when they begin.
“This time of year, we keep reminding them that everyone’s 0-0. We think Washington’s going to be a great atmosphere. It’s a tough draw and I feel for the coaches because some team is going to have to go home.”
And so the goal is simple - to stay alive as long as possible.
While his son has two more seasons at Culver, Galloway knows what a deep tournament run would mean to every player on the team.
“Indiana basketball is special. Being able to play high school basketball, you don’t want that to be taken away from you.”