Tony Gallis was a three-year starting quarterback at Catholic University who was named first-team All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference in 1983. He led CUA to three victories over Georgetown, its biggest rival at the time.
When Gallis finished his career, he was No. 1 in the Cardinal record book in career completions (361), yards (5,138) and touchdowns (40). His number would have been much better had he not missed the final 10 games of his senior year.
Gallis, who came to CUA from Dickson City, Pa., in 1982, made his presence felt immediately, helping the team improve from 1-8 to 5-4. His coach, Joe Pascale, said he beat out two other quarterbacks to earn the starting nod.
“Because of his leadership and athletic ability, he won the job,” Pascale said. “And the other two were very good. One of them transferred to Fordham. He was very instrumental into getting us back on the right track."
Gallis passed for 297 yards and three touchdowns in the season opener – including an 80-yarder to John Hildreth – in the Cardinals’ 21-14 victory over Emory & Henry.
In the second game, with CUA trailing Fordham by one, Gallis threw a 63-yard TD to Mike Kosar with 1:11 to play to rally the Cards to a 24-18 triumph. He finished 13 of 27 for 220 yards and was named ECAC Rookie of the Week.
Gallis, who also punted that season, threw for 300 yards two games later in a 17-14 loss to St. John’s. In CUA’s 19-18 victory over Georgetown, he brought the Cardinals back from a 9-0 deficit with two TD passes to Kosar, one for 46 yards and another from 2 yards on fourth and goal with just 11 seconds left before halftime.
Pascale said that football was in jeopardy of being dropped by the university the year before Gallis arrived.
“We were really struggling, and I felt the key to turning this program around was a really good quarterback,” he said. “Tony was an excellent quarterback. He was one of the keys to turning our football program around and restoring our winning ways.”
Gallis continued his magic against the Hoyas the following season by leading the Cards to 18 second-half points in a 40-23 win. He completed 12 of 25 passes for 236 yards and four TDs. For the year, he broke CUA Hall of Famer Steve Stanislav’s school records for touchdowns (12) and completions (124).
“We were one of the few teams that passed a lot, and Tony certainly fit the bill for us as a quarterback who could really throw the football,” Pascale said. “But I think the intangible thing here is that his leadership was really good. He did a great job on the field taking control, even as a freshman.”
In 1984, Gallis succeeded on 53.7 percent of his passes to become the first Cardinal at the Division III level to complete more than half of his attempts. His career-high 17 touchdowns stood as a school record until Kevin Ricca tied it in 1994 and broke it (22) two years later.
The ’84 season began with Gallis connecting on 14 of 25 passes for 250 yards, including a 52-yard scoring strike to Chris Veno in a 72-0 victory over St. Peter’s. CUA downed Duquesne 21-16 when Gallis threw a 71-yard TD to Walt Kalinowski with 5:52 remaining.
The junior signal caller made it 3-for-3 against Georgetown with a 56-6 thrashing. On the Cardinals’ first play from scrimmage, he threw a 35-yard TD to his brother Ed. He added 22- and 23-yard scoring strikes to Kalinowski. The Cards’ third straight win over the Hoyas kept the Steve Dean Memorial Trophy in Brookland.
Kosar, Kalinowski, the Gallises and Chris Veno all came to CUA from Scranton Prep. The Washington Times dubbed them “The Scranton Connection.”
“I had looked at bigger places and some Ivy League schools, too,” Tony Gallis told the school newspaper, The Tower, in October 1984. “Mike Kosar was the major influence on me coming to [Catholic University.]”
Gallis’ career ended in the 1985 season opener against Dickinson – the first game at DuFour Field – when he suffered a devastating left knee injury. Prior to his second-quarter misfortune, he and Ed connected for their final touchdown together. CUA won the game, 29-26.
Gallis, who finished school with a marketing degree in 1986 from the University of Scranton (Pa.), is a successful insurance agent in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
By Chris McManes (August 2015)