One Last Time: Galovich Kicked His Way Into Full-Time Role for Cowboys Football
This is the 4th in a series of articles on Cowboy seniors who will make their final appearance in Brown & Gold on New Years Eve in the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl.
LARAMIE —Born and raised in Corvallis, Ore.,Ryan Galovich even spent his first two years of college at Oregon State.
But then he knew it was time for a new experience. And he wanted to be a part of a team again – a football team. It was something he missed.
“It was about football and I also just needed a change of scenery,” he said, “just a total changeup in my life. I was tired of Oregon. I grew up in Corvallis. I needed something new.”
He contacted an assortment of football coaches, explaining his desire to get back on the field, and detailing his past experience, which included being a punter and a placekicker in high school.
He got one reply – from Wyoming coach Craig Bohl.
“I looked at a couple of schools in the Mountain West, and the Pac-12,” he said. “The Pac-12 schools were a little bit more closed off in terms on walk-on recruiting. And if you are going to come as a walk-on, they prefer you do it in the spring, and it’s a limited trial.
“Of the schools I reached out to Wyoming was the one that said, `we’ll give you two weeks to (see if you fit) in the fall.’ I figured that was the best chance I had.”
And Galovich took advantage of that opportunity. After spending the 2017 season in a red-shirt type situaiton, he was given a chance to share the punting duties Dontae Crow a year ago when scholarship punter Tim Zaleski was hurt, Galovich kicked his way into a full-time job.
This year the job was Galovich's full time.
"I wasn't happy with where I was in 2018," he said. "Dontae did a great job punting (in long punt situations) and I got a chance to get out there (in short punt situations) and get game experience.
"I knew I wasn't playing up to my own potential so I spent last summer getting down what it takes to be a punter and doing the job well."
And on New Years Eve, Galovich's truth-is-stranger-than-fiction kicking career will come to an end when the Cowboys take on Georiga State in the Nova Home Loan Arizona Bowl in Tucson.
Galovich fits with the Bohl approach. A product of the Nebraska Black Shirts – who himself was a walk-on to his home-state school – Bohl knows all about building a red-shirt program, reaching out to players who have potential but aren’t polished enough for other schools.
Sometimes, they hit it big, like Josh Allen, the seventh pick in the NFL draft this year, and Andrew Wingard, an All-MW defensive back, both of whom had one offer, and Marcus Epps, who was a walk-on that was given a full-ride after his first year, and was elected a team captain by his teammates three consecutive seasons before going to the Minnesota Vickings as a sixth-round draft choice the past summer.
“That’s one thing I learned from Coach (Tom) Osborne,” said Bohl. “He was really good as far as being open, never closing doors. Beyond skill, you have to have a want to and a desire. That’s hard to gauge.”
And at Wyoming, where recruiting can be a challenge, there is a benefit to provide an opportunity to a player who has something to prove to those who doubted him.
“We’re a development program,” said Bohl. “That means you have to have a pretty wide net, and have guys that have the want to. Before you start saying arbitrary ‘nos,’ you have to have a reason to say no.”
That’s why Galovich was such a good fit.
“Wyoming loves giving a guy an opportunity, to come out and work, because they appreciate the work ethic,” he said.
And he did have a knowledge of Wyoming, minimal as it may have been.
“My granddad was an alum in the `50s,” he said “He would talk about being here for engineering, and how he liked the campus and the people, the atmosphere. My parents have friend who have gone here too, and ended up in Corvallis, so they talked about the University.
“There were pretty happy when I chose it. I didn’t know a lot about it, myself, other than it is scenic and it is cold. But that’s what I liked about it – a small town, and great education. We’ve got the mountains.”
And most of all, Wyoming was willing to give Galovich a chance