Chad Galloway retains the look of an athlete. He stands six feet, two inches tall and weighs just a tad more than the 190 pounds that he carried when he was one of the outstanding track and field athletes in the country. His athletic exploits have earned Chad a spot in the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2015.
Chad began competing in running events in the track and field programs sponsored by the Fannin County Recreation Department in 1984 when he was seven years old. It was soon apparent that he could run faster than most kids his age and he soon expanded his repertoire of skills to other track and field events.
He competed in a local version of the pentathlon around the age of eight. The pentathlon consisted of five events requiring skills in running, jumping and strength. Chad quickly became a force to be reckoned with in all aspects of track and field and piled up medal after medal in a wide variety of events. At the age of 11, he set a boys 12 and under record in the long jump with a leap of 19’ 4 ¼”.
At some point in his athletic career, Chad became enamored of the decathlon event. The decathlon is considered one of the most challenging athletic competitions in the world and attracts only athletes who are proficient in all of the traditional physical skills. In 1912 King Gustav V of Sweden called Jim Thorpe, who had just won the Olympic decathlon competition at the Stockholm Olympics, the ‘greatest athlete in the world’. That moniker continues to be used to describe the decathlon champion at the Olympic Games.
As Chad entered his high school years, he realized that he could not pursue his decathlon dreams in a school setting because the state of Georgia high school track and field competitions do not include that event. His track and field activities for the next four years, therefore, were pursued on two fronts. At Fannin County High School, Chad competed in track and field, as well as cross country and basketball. He earned a total of 11 letters in those three sports during his four years in high school.
The USATF Junior Olympics, however, does include the decathlon event. It was as a decathlete at the Junior Olympics that Chad was able to demonstrate the strong overall track and field skills that he had worked so hard to acquire while competing against the very best athletes in the country. The Junior Olympics are contested during the summer months, so Chad’s athletic activities consisted of his high school competitions from September through May, followed by the Junior Olympics after the high school year was completed.
The highlights of Chad Galloway’s high school career occurred in the spring of his junior season of 1993-94. At the state class AA track and field meet that season, he captured state championships in both the pole vault and the 110 meter high hurdles, two of the most difficult track disciplines to master. Chad is quick to admit that becoming a proficient pole vaulter was the most difficult technical challenge that he faced during his career. That he was able to win a state championship in that event is testimony to his strong work ethic and commitment.
Winning two state titles is enough to establish the Chad Galloway legacy of excellence. It was his record in the decathlon competition at the Junior Olympics, however, that elevated his status to the very top on a national scale.
In 1991, Chad competed in the National Junior Olympics in Raleigh, North Carolina and placed 6th in the pentathlon, ninth in the long jump and 12th in the high hurdles. In the summer of 1992, at the tender age of 14 following his freshman year in high school, Chad won the Southeastern United States decathlon competition for boys 16 and under to earn the right to represent the region at the national competition in Los Angeles, California. He finished 13th in a field of the top decathletes in the country.
In 1993, Chad again advanced to the National USATF Junior Olympics by winning the Southeastern championship at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. At the National competition held at LSU in Baton Rouge, he finished third in another very strong field.
It was his performance in his final decathlon competition in 1995, however, that undoubtedly provided the most memorable experience of his eleven year track and field career. In the Southeastern Junior Olympics meet held in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Chad was in second place after the first seven events of the decathlon. In the eighth event, the pole vault, Chad hit the bar coming down and was knocked unconscious. He suffered a stitch-requiring cut on his chin and still bears the scar as a souvenir of that unfortunate event. He was urged to drop out of the competition but insisted on continuing. During the 9th event, the javelin throw, Chad’s cut began to bleed again and he was once again treated. As he competed in the final event, the grueling 1500 meter run, Chad staggered and almost fell several times as his chin began to bleed profusely. He finished, however, and received a resounding standing ovation from the fans in recognition of his incredible courage and heart in finishing the decathlon.
Due to the injury, Chad fell into third place in the meet and, consequently, did not advance to the National Junior Olympics. Only the top two finishers in each region receive spots in the National event.
Chad was recruited by a number of colleges and accepted a track and field scholarship to attend the University of Tennessee. Personal events intervened, however, and Chad did not continue his decathlon career at the college level.
Chad Galloway and his wife Amanda, continue to call Morganton their home. They have two young children, Adia and Airianna and Chad has an 18 year old daughter, Brittany. Chad is employed by the Gilmer County Department of Education.
Chad is a very soft spoken man, proud but humble about his many athletic accomplishments. He is quick to point out that his parents, Debbie and Vaughn, were there supporting him at the beginning of his career and at every step along his amazing journey. He is an exemplary role model for young athletes and the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame is proud to count Chad Galloway as a member.