Covington naming gym after Gallagher

COVINGTON — Hubie Gallagher left a deep imprint on this Northshore community after arriving more than three-quarters of a century ago.

He coached and taught a generation of St. Tammany youngsters, leaving such an impact that more than 50 years after he left the sidelines, more than 40 years after he left the classroom, more 20 years after his death, his name still registers with the populace of Covington.

Saturday that name will become a formal part of Covington High, where Gallagher coached football, basketball and track, and taught civics, social science and physical education from 1939 through 1969.

The school will name its gymnasium for him Saturday between the girls and boys basketball games with Fontainebleau High School.

The Covington High Ambassadors’ Council will host a reception at 1 p.m. in the school library. All family, friends and former players of Gallagher are invited. The formal renaming of the Covington High gym will take place at the end of the girls game, which is scheduled to tip-off at 2 p.m., and before the boys game.

“He was quite a coach,’’ said Jack Salter, who was Gallagher’s lone assistant for two years before Gallagher asked him to take his place on the football sidelines in 1963. “Coach Gallagher was a good disciplinarian. Firm and fair. Tough when he had to be, and still had a good relationship with the kids he coached. He really was quite a man on the field, in the classroom, and in life.’’

Hubert Gallagher, a Pennsylvania native and a 1937 graduate of Notre Dame arrived in Covington later that year to coach at St. Paul’s School. He left after two years to take over at Lyon High (then the name of Covington High) as head football, basketball and track coach. He also brought the fight songs, cheers and colors of his beloved Notre Dame to the Lions.

Whatever athletic success the school enjoyed fell directly on his shoulders because for years Gallagher had no assistants.

In football, he had 156-126-2 record with the Lions. Gallagher’s most notable success came in basketball where he compiled a 626-291 record, won state championships in 1946 and 1960, made the state finals four times, and won 10 district championships.

In 1983, Gallagher was inducted into the Louisiana High School Hall of Fame. He died in 1992 at the age of 79.