Galovich Getting a Kick Out of Opportunity Provided by Wyoming

LARAMIE — LARAMIE – Ryan Galovich was 20 years old. He was born and raised in Corvallis, Ore., including attending Oregon State University his first two years in college.

He wanted 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 did not know where he was headed, but he wasn’t concerned. 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 punt 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.”

Two years later, there are no complaints.

Galovich isn’t one of those truth-is-stranger than fiction success stories. He spent last year in a red-shirt like mode, working out with the team, traveling in case of an emergency. That’s pretty much how this season started, too, working on the scout team, filling in wherever a need arose.

“Kicking is what I came in for specifically, but they used me as a scout team reserve, at  other positions, too,” he said. “I’m the utility guy. It’s college football. You can’t complain when you’re out there on Saturdays.”

And the Cowboys certainly aren’t complaining.

Punter Tim Zoleski suffered a season-ending knee injury early in the season. Scrambling to fill that void, Bohl came up with a two-man approach. Dontae Crow, a walk-on wide receiver from Sheridan, has been called on to handle the longer punting chores. Galovich has stepped in at the shorter punts, the ones where Bohl wants to have more hang time to make sure the returns a minimal.

It 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 has been elected a team captain by his teammates three consecutive seasons.

Sometimes, it’s with players who fill a void, and enjoy being a part of the big picture, line Crowe and Galovich.

“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.

Tracy RingolsbyComment