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Hartford head coach John Gallagher resigns amid program's transition to Division III

On the eve of the school’s final Division I season, Gallagher steps away

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Hartford at Baylor
Prior to become head coach at Hartford, Gallagher was an assistant with LaSalle, Lafayette, Penn and Boston College.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

In a letter to the University of Hartford President Greg Woodward just one day before opening tipoff of the Hawks 2022-23 men’s college basketball season, head coach John Gallagher has declared his intentions to step down from his current position immediately.

This resignation from Gallagher comes amid the program’s decision to transition its athletics department from the Division I level to Division III, which was announced in May 2021, and is set to take effect at the start of the 2023-24 season.

Furthermore, Gallagher reportedly remains in an active lawsuit with a member of the University’s Board of Regents, which began back in August after being assured that Hartford would remain a DI program. Ultimately, these reassurances led Gallagher to allegedly decline an offer from Oklahoma to join as an assistant coach under Porter Moser back in the spring of 2021.

According to his resignation letter, Gallagher is citing a breach of contract by the University on several occasions and that the school failed to protect the safety and well-being of their student-athletes by neglecting to provide an athletic trainer for the Hawks’ preseason battle with Dartmouth College.

As Gallagher goes on to detail, this decision from the University not only potentially caused a knee injury to one of his players but also resulted in a longer and more painful recovery process which could have been prevented with the assistance of a trainer.

“At least one parent has reached out to express outrage at this situation,” Gallagher said in his statement. “This is something that I, as a Coach, cannot tolerate.”

Following these comments and allegations, Hartford released a statement through ESPN that refuted the former head coach’s claims.

“Mr. Gallagher’s resignation letter is full of inaccuracies,” the school said. “We are confident that these baseless claims and attacks will be disproved through the legal process. We wish Mr. Gallagher well and look forward to announcing interim leadership for our men’s basketball program.”

The Hawks won the 2021 America East title and made the NCAA Tournament for the first time.

In his 12 seasons as head coach, Gallagher amassed an overall record of 169-207 and was one of the program’s most successful coaches at the DI level. He posted a winning record from 2017-2021 before being handcuffed with scholarship losses prior to the school’s transition.

The Hawks are scheduled to begin their campaign with a matchup against Sacred Heart tonight at 7 p.m. ET.