Building on a long list of accomplishments Coach Derek Gallagher added ‘Hall of famer’ to the list on November, 5, 2023.
At the 5th annual Rufus King Hall of Fame induction banquet, Gallagher was honored for 25 years of leadership and his ability to bring the best out of his players.
“My heart pounds,” Gallagher said of his players. “That’s a lot of love but that’s the kind of kids that we have.”
Between 1980 and 2005 Gallagher coached basketball and baseball at Rufus King. Under his leadership, the school’s baseball team made four state tournament appearances and won 11 City Conference titles.
At Sunday night’s event, Gallagher shared the stage with 12 other inductees, many of whom were his former players, like alumnis Matthew Anderson.
“The influence he had on me not only as a baseball player but as a person was huge: how to take criticism, not everything’s going to go your way and how to battle adversity,” Anderson said. “I’m very grateful, one of the best to do it.”
It’s an experience Rufus King Athletic Director Jeremy Nichols wants to see repeated for years to come. He said by honoring the past they’re also securing the future— fundraising to help buy uniforms and equipment to fill district funding gaps.
“A lot of our students come from families of poverty or disadvantaged situations,” Nichols said. “Making sure that they have the coaching, making sure they have the equipment that puts them on par with some of their suburban counterparts is really important.”
Since the annual ceremony began Rufus King’s athletic department has honored about 50 of their alumni and raised thousands for current students.