Gallegos resigns boys soccer post at Crater

CENTRAL POINT — Chris Gallegos found it difficult to ask his boys soccer players at Crater High to give it their all when he wasn't able to do likewise and, tough as it was, the affable coach knew something had to change.

On Monday, Gallegos resigned his position as head coach of the Comets in order to dedicate more time to his family and allow his players the opportunity to be guided by someone a little less distracted as he has been over the past year.

"This was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make, but I think it was the right one out of fairness to everyone," Gallegos said Wednesday. "I've had a couple medical things come up with my daughter and put a lot of time toward being away from my elementary school and my classroom and from coaching the kids. I didn't think it was fair for me to be pulling away and not setting up my schedule with the high school guys as I've done there in the past and to be coaching them if I couldn't do it 100 percent."

Gallegos' 2-year-old daughter Carson developed a mass in her cheek and the family has endured many trips to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland for various tests and procedures over the past year. Initial concerns of cancer were alleviated when biopsies came out benign, and Gallegos said the next step involves potential removal of the mass.

"About the last year with my daughter and taking away time to deal with that, mentally I haven't really been there, and it's just not fair to the kids," he said of the tough decision to step away from coaching duties.

"The sad part is there's a group of kids returning to Crater next year, something like eight starters, and a lot of kids I've known since they were 10 or 11 years old," added Gallegos. "There's a lot more than just being a coach I'll miss, a lot of friendships and things that I've had to step away from because of this. It's hard but it's the right thing to do."

Gallegos led Crater to the state playoffs in his first two seasons and last two seasons at the helm for four trips in his seven seasons. The Comets finished second in the Southern Sky Conference to eventual Class 5A state runner-up Ashland with a 6-2 league mark and an 8-7-1 overall tally, having their season come to an end for the second straight year in the second round of the state playoffs. Crater finished third in the SSC in 2006 and '07.

Gallegos said he doesn't expect his coaching days to be over for good, just for now.

"I'm not saying that this is it, at least I hope not," he said.

Crater expects to return four players who earned all-SSC recognition in 2008 in current junior J.D. Walker (second-team defender) and sophomores Matt Crowl (second-team forward), Ben Purtzer (second-team goalkeeper) and Noel Cummings (honorable mention midfielder).

"They really should have a good season next year because of the amount of kids and the kind of kids they have coming back," said Gallegos, who also has a 5-year-old son, Caden. "I hope they get someone that's willing to put in the time out there because that's what is needed. The soccer community out there is not big, but the ones out there are really dedicated."

Crater Athletics Director Jeff Johnson has said the school will begin a search for Gallegos' replacement in the coming weeks.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail

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