Often, an injury marks the end of an athlete’s career. For the new Hillsdale football safeties coach, however, it was a beginning of sorts.
Nick Galvin ’14 first joined the Chargers in 2009, starting at defensive back for a Hillsdale team that qualified for the NCAA Division II playoffs and advanced to the regional semifinals. His career in blue and white was successful, but two ACL tears cut it short. After battling these injuries his junior year, Galvan spent his last two years at Hillsdale on the sidelines as a student-coach.
“Getting injured was when I really got started coaching,” Galvan said. “I found out that it was what I wanted to do, so from that point on I was able to work with the staff and learn from them what goes on behind the scenes.”
Galvan joined the coaching staff this March. Since Galvan is a Hillsdale graduate, head coach Keith Otterbein said he knew his transition to coaching the Chargers would be seamless.
“We knew he would fit right in from a personality and philosophy standpoint, because he went to Hillsdale College,” Otterbein said. “He knows how unique it is and what it stands for, so it was just a natural fit for him and for us.”
Not only has Galvan been a natural fit to the ideals of Hillsdale College, but he has also fit in well with the players of Team 125, partly due to his youth.
“It’s kind of nice being the young coach on staff, because I can relate pretty well with the players,” Galvin said. “It’s not hard to understand what they’re thinking or what they’re going through, because I was there once.”
Because he graduated in 2014, Galvan actually played with some of the current Charger football players. Senior defensive back Spencer Nehls is one of the players who had Galvan as a teammate, coach, and mentor.
“With him only being a few years older than some of us, I think he does a great job of walking the line between being a friend and also a coach that I have a lot of respect for,” Nehls said. “He is very knowledgeable about the sport of football, but his energy and passion for the game and his players is what sets him apart. I think he has a bright future in coaching.”
Galvan spent the 2014-16 seasons with the Olivet College Comets as a secondary coach, where he helped lead the team to two conference titles and an NAIA playoff appearance. This experience, paired with his successful playing career, is likely to serve Galvan well as a coach, according to Otterbein.
“He was a very smart and talented player, and sometimes really good players don’t have the ability to coach what they’re doing. They just naturally do it,” Otterbein said. “But Nick has the ability to voice what he sees on the field, as well as pick up the little things as he observes them and coach them.”
With this passion to always strive for perfection, Galvan focuses on not only how the player is on the field, but how the player is off the field, as well.
“I was molded a lot by my coaches growing up and so I always want to be that role model for my players as well,” he said, “I want to guide them on the right path and mold them into good young men, which means doing what I can do to help them with their struggles, as well as being there for them in positive times, too.”
With the season in full swing and one win already under the team’s belt, Galvan said he is excited to be a part of the Chargers family again.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for me to coach where I went to school and I’m very happy to be back. I like where I’m at right now and I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon,” Galvan said. “I love this school. I love what it stands for. I love Hillsdale Football.”