ORANGE PARK - Former Ridgeview High athletic director and baseball coach John Sgromolo moved his office into the Clay County School District with a new position of the county's athletic director and …
ORANGE PARK - Former Ridgeview High athletic director and baseball coach John Sgromolo moved his office into the Clay County School District with a new position of the county's athletic director and Ridgeview found a replacement whose credentials come with a handful of state championship trophies.
"In all my years in Florida as an athletic director, I had never heard of Ridgeview High School," said Chris Gallagher, 47, originally from Michigan but a Floridian for the past 22 years. "As I started to get more information here, it's a great place. John Sgromolo built a great team to work with. "We had an interesting competitive connection; my school, Viera High in Melbourne, and Ridgeview."
The connection, said Gallagher, was the FHSAA Team Spirit and Sportsmanship Awards, given annually to the school with most competitive spirit at games and events as determined by a video presentation to FHSAA.
"At Viera, 2013, we won the sportsmanship award for Class 7A," said Gallagher. "In 2016, we won the sportsmanship award in 7A. Ridgeview won it one year and they became our rival."
Gallagher, married to Angela with three children; 8-15 years old, noted that Viero's immense athletic success breeds into the school spirit.
"I think we had four state champions, nine individual state champions and, probably, four state runnerups," said Gallagher. "Last year, my wife, Angela wanted to give another opportunity a chance. In Brevard, the pay raises in steps discontinued. To me, it didn't matter. To her it did."
Gallagher, himself an athlete in football, basketball and baseball in high school and then junior college basketball.
"I finally graduated from Michigan State in 1996 and came to Florida," said Gallagher. "No, I did not play basketball with Magic Johnson at Michigan State, but I did try out in 1993."
Gallagher noted Viera as a 7A school gave him experience in multiple sports at a high level with his championship events.
"The athlete level here is growing," said Gallagher. "I'm too new to know if we have that marquis athlete here, but the coaches are all very excited."