Over the summer, Gary Gall was hired as the first full-time head strength and conditioning coach at SUNY New Paltz.
Director of Athletics Stuart Robinson said the athletics department had to make sure a new full-time employee could fit into their budget prior to conducting a search and eventually hiring someone.
“We had a large number of candidates and through that process Gary’s passion and excitement for what the position entailed stood out, so he was the guy,” Robinson said. “That, and the fact that he wanted to get out of South Dakota.”
Head Basketball Coach Mike Rejniak said members of the athletics department decided hiring a strength and conditioning coach would be very beneficial.
“During the summer, Mr. Robinson and I, along with some fellow coaches wanted to make the push for the heightened level of success in our athletic department,” he said.
Gall’s first job was in November of 2010, when he was a training and development intern with the U.S. Navy. After that, he served as the head strength and conditioning coach for the NEPA Miners of the Empire Football League from April to August of 2011.
Gall came to New Paltz from Northern State University, where he served as a strength and conditioning graduate assistant during the 2011-12 school years. He earned a Master of Science in sport performance and leadership during this period.
Once he completed his master’s degree, Gall said he spent his time sending out applications to places around the country looking for a strength and conditioning coach. He received a call back from New Paltz and after interviewing over the phone and Skype, he received the job.
“It’s pretty exciting for them and I,” Gall said. “For them, I’m the first strength coach to really ever be here. For me, it’s really exciting because besides being a graduate assistant and assistant coach, this is my first shot as a head coach and professional coach.”
Gall said he decided to become a strength and conditioning coach after realizing he “didn’t like wearing a tie and sitting at a desk.”
“After that, I got more into personal training, outlining programs and then I took it to the next level of how I could get to a team environment again from being a college athlete, so I looked into graduate assistantships and getting a master degree,” he said.
Robinson said Gall’s commitment to not only the student-athletes, but the entire student body has impressed him so far.
“His energy and willingness to serve students has just stood out,” Robinson said. “He will avail himself to any student at any time to help them and to get them excited about the idea of being strong. I think he’s built kind of an excitement among students that have got to meet him and work with him.”
Gall said he likes to keep an “intense” environment while working out.
“We do our ab workouts together at the end of the workout, it creates a good atmosphere and it creates a team building moment,” he said. “It brings them out of their comfort zone, to make them believe they’re better than they truly think they are.”
Gall trained the Men’s Basketball team the most out of any team since he started working at New Paltz, he said. He worked with them for five days a week for six weeks.
The team started practice in the best shape out of all the teams during his three-year tenure as New Paltz’s head coach, Rejniak said.
“All of us have kind of embraced what Coach Gall has brought and the results will show more as the whole year progresses,” he said. “My team has loved it so far.”
Even though he works long hours, Gall said he doesn’t mind because of how hard his students work.
“I don’t count the hours,” Gall said. “For me, being with the kids, working with the kids, especially watching how much they’ve improved, how much better they’ve become. That makes your job more satisfactory at the end. You feel really good about that when you leave for the day.”