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Madison coach returns to the field following daughter’s health scare

Corey Gallien and his daughter Ava are enjoying themselves at a Houston Astros game. Photo by Bertha Chavez

Madison High School softball players have seen both sides of their coach.
They have seen the tough, no-nonsense side – get to your work and start hitting balls.
They have also seen the teary-eyed, teddy-bear-like daddy.
Since he became their softball coach, Corey Gallien has had to wear two hats – softball coach and dutiful dad for his 8-year-old daughter battling leukemia.
Gallien’s daughter Ava was diagnosed February 2016.
“For the better part of the past year, we did have weekly stays in the hospital and a scheduled hospital visit just about every five days. Currently, we are in what’s called the maintenance stage of leukemia which requires us to go to the hospital once a month. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Gallien said with a smile. “And I’m pleased to say we are in remission so there aren’t any more leukemia blasts in her body; however, we remain on the treatments to ensure they don’t come back.”
Ever since his daughter’s diagnosis, Gallien said he and his family have dealt with chemo, lumbar punctures and various other treatments. There is still another year and half worth of treatments needed, the proud father said.
As Gallien enters his second season as coach, he does so with much of the weight off his shoulder.
“Coaching is a very time-consuming business but I’ve done a good job balancing my family along with coaching,” he said. “I try to involve my family in my school activities as much as possible. It’s tough but it’s doable and it helps having a very supportive and understanding wife.”
Gallien credits the young ladies on his softball team for their support and understanding.
As he prepares for the upcoming softball season, Gallien said he is excited to return to the softball field.
“I take pride in the success we’ve had so far. Each year is a new year to get better and I want my girls to have the feeling of continued success. We’ve got a lot of work to do but I believe in the work that we put in every day and if we continue that trend, the wins will come,” Coach Gallien said.
Gallien, who also is Madison’s offensive football coordinator, is expecting his squad to return with the same level of enthusiasm they exhibited last season.
“We’ve got a year in the books together so the girls know what I expect from them and vice versa. It should be a good season, he said. “Their abilities have grown daily because of their desire to be great. They are a very coachable group of young ladies and when you have the combination of being coachable with the desire to better yourself, you have no choice but to succeed. I love being part of that process with them.”
Returning to the field are last
year’s rookie of the year sophomore Sarah Medina, senior captains Noelia Alvarado, Ashley Zuniga and Cindy Palacios.
“The strength of the team is back and ready to make another run,” Gallien said. “Pitching will be our weakness. My starting pitcher from last year transferred to another school, leaving a big question mark for us. A lot of girls have stepped up and showed interest in pitching, so I’m excited about that.”
Alvarado can’t wait to hit the field.
“I couldn’t wait to go back to the field. It’s an indescribable eagerness I get before every game. And I just love the game and I appreciate how coach – after everything he’s going through, he still goes the extra miles for every single one of us,” Alvarado said. “Coach also looks out for all of us off the field. He’s someone we can count on when we are in need or even if we would just like some advice – he is there for all of us.”
Zuniga said she could not agree more.
“We aren’t just a team we are a family. We all love the game and we all appreciate everything coach does for us,” she said. “His daughter is like a little sister to us. We all look out for her and treat her as if she part of the team with us. She’s very outgoing and always has a smile on her face.”
Gallien is very proud of his squad.
“I’m very proud of the work the girls put in on and off the field. They are a hard-working group and embrace the challenges put in front of them,” he said. “I’m more proud of the way they handle their school work. It’s difficult to balance work, school and athletics and they all handle it with success.”

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