Victor Galli Pittsburg
After a loss to Berkeley on Sept. 25, the season looked lost for the Pittsburg High football team.
With a 1-3 record, an injured star player and doubters piling up everywhere, coach Victor Galli and his staff convened a team meeting.
"We all sat and talked and the kids said what was being said (outside the team)," Galli said. "They said, 'We don't want to play for ourselves, we want to play for this team.'"
The talk worked. The Pirates won eight of their next nine games, landing in the North Coast Section Division I championship for the second straight year.
And now, after bringing his team all the way back from the brink of a disastrous season, Galli has been voted East Bay Coach of the Year for the first time in his eight-year tenure at Pittsburg.
The work that Galli and his staff put in was evident by season's end. Quarterback Julius Mozee improved by leaps and bounds to lead the Pirates offense. The defense, which featured six new starters in the front seven, evolved to the point where it was able to shut out No. 2 seed Deer Valley in an NCS quarterfinal. In doing so, Pittsburg not only advanced in the playoffs but also avenged its only Bay Valley Athletic League loss.
And, even after losing to De La Salle in the Division I championship, Galli told his players to hold their heads high, reminding them just how far they'd come to get there.
"We had to go through some growing pains, and I'm glad the kids didn't give up," Galli said. "It goes to my entire coaching staff and everybody involved with this program. We all worked our butts off."
— Ben Enos