Legendary head coach Ron Galbreath had just completed his second consecutive 20-win season for the Geneva College women’s basketball program, which was a first in school history. Following the 2007-08 season, Galbreath was preparing for his 36th year as a head coach, but he could not have prepared for what was to be the biggest challenge of his life.
In April of 2008, Galbreath suffered a severe stroke. It took months of physical therapy for him to return to a normal lifestyle, and the doctors said his coaching career was over. “Not so fast,” said the man that had racked up 633 career coaching victories.
With characteristic determination, Galbreath has made a remarkable recovery. Throughout the last several months, he has been chomping at the bit to get back to work. He didn't miss a home game this season as interim head coach Amy Russin filled his place on the bench.
Now, less than one year after his life-threatening stroke, Ron Galbreath is back on the job full-time for the Golden Tornadoes. And don't try to tell him to take it easy. After being away from the game for so long, he is more energized than ever.
“To say I have missed coaching the past year would be a huge understatement,” Galbreath says. “I miss the teaching aspect of my job more than anything. I am very anxious to get back into the x’s and o’s of the game and help our ladies continue their progression as college basketball players.”
The Geneva College administration is equally excited about Galbreath’s return. “We are pleased Coach Galbreath has recovered sufficiently to be able to resume his full-time responsibilities in the athletic department,” says Athletic Director Dr. Kim Gall. “For Ron to have recovered in this manner is a testimony to God’s power. We are also very thankful to Amy Russin for being willing to step in to coach the team last season. Now we are excited that Coach Galbreath will bring his wisdom and years of experience back to the program.”
Galbreath’s coaching career is considered one of the most successful in western Pennsylvania history. After starting his career at Westminster in 1968, Galbreath moved on to Clarion University for the next five seasons. Over the next 25 years, he spent his time building a powerhouse of a program at Westminster College, including three trips to the NAIA national tournament.
In his six years with the Golden Tornadoes, Galbreath has compiled a record of 111-48, becoming the second winningest women’s basketball coach in school history. Included in that success was Geneva’s first ever trip to the NAIA national tournament for the Geneva women in 2006-07.
– Van Zanic ’93