Ten days ago, John Gallagher was an assistant basketball coach at Penn and Dan Leibovitz was the head coach at Hartford. On Friday, Dan Leibovitz will become an assistant coach at Penn and John Gallagher is going to be named head coach at Hartford.
Philadelphia basketball sources have confirmed what seems to be a bizarre trade, but, in reality, was just a very strange set of circumstances in the annual coaching carousel.
Gallagher actually left Jerome Allen’s Penn staff right after the Final Four to become an assistant at Boston College under new Eagles coach Steve Donahue. When that happened, Leibovitz, who was finishing off a second consecutive difficult season at Hartford, decided to call his old friend Allen to see if Allen was interested in hiring him as an assistant. He was.
So Leibovitz, a Penn grad and classmate of Allen’s at Episcopal Academy, went for the chance to come back home and work with his good friend.
When Leibovitz, a former Temple assistant, was hired as Hartford’s head coach in 2006, his first call was to Gallagher, then Fran O’Hanlon’s top assistant at Lafayette. Gallagher went to Hartford for 2 years before joining Glen Miller’s staff at Penn in 2008.
When Leibovitz decided to leave Hartford for Penn, Hartford’s athletic administration made one call — to Gallagher. When he was there, Gallagher was a beloved assistant. He recruited and coached many of Hartford’s upperclassmen.
Now, starting next season, John Gallagher, who played for Bud Gardler at Cardinal O’Hara High and Phil Martelli at Saint Joseph’s before taking an assistant job at La Salle, first under Speedy Morris and then under Bill Hahn, will be the head coach for those Hartford upperclassmen.