UNC baseball head coach Scott Forbes has gotten off to a hot start on the recruiting trail after being named the successor to legendary skipper Mike Fox.
Forbes secured one of his first big commitments on Sept. 28, from local shortstop Gavin Gallaher. The No. 147 recruit in his class according to Perfect Game, Gallaher gives the Tar Heels a surefire middle infielder for the 2023 class. Gallaher, who plays high school ball at Pro5 Baseball Academy in Holly Springs, North Carolina, has dreamed of playing for the Tar Heels since he was a little kid.
“Just living here and being close to home, I have been going to basketball games, baseball games and football growing up," Gallaher said. “It just kind of feels like it's home to me.”
Although he said North Carolina has felt like home for most of his life, Gallaher's collegiate decision wasn’t an easy one, considering the pressure that typically surrounds a player of his caliber’s recruitment. Added on top of that were the obstacles COVID-19 created for recruits and their families.
UNC’s program history, combined with Forbes’ down-to-earth nature, won him over in the end as the recruit and coach got to know each other better.
“Right from the start, just talking to coach Forbes, I already knew a lot about him. I knew that he was a great coach," Gallaher said. “Just getting to talk to him and get to know him as a person and kind of talk more on the personal side about family and stuff like that, I started to realize how great of a guy he is off the field, as well as on the field.”
Gallaher has been preparing for college ball all his life and has had plenty of family support along the way. He comes from a family of athletes — his brother, Riley, played football at Campbell and South Carolina, and his father, Sean, coached and played baseball at Wake Forest.
Riley has enjoyed watching his little brother grow as a player over the years and said he respects his passion and grit for the game.
“He’s never been the biggest kid on his teams, but he always just seems to be in the right spot to make the plays," Riley said. “I honestly think that comes from his work ethic. I wish I had Gavin’s dedication and passion for the game.”
Although his size does not give him much of an advantage at 6'0" and 165 pounds, Gallaher brings an edge to the game that makes it fun for everyone around him to watch.
Gallaher’s showcase coach, John Batchelor, thinks he will be a fan favorite when he steps foot on the diamond at Boshamer Stadium due to his competitiveness and love for the game.
“I’ll tell you what, the fans are going to love watching him play, because he plays with a ton of passion," Batchelor said. “He loves the game, he plays it hard and he plays it the right way.”
Although fans will have to wait a while until they get to see the hard-working local shortstop take the field, they can rest assured that there is another talented leader waiting in the wings to help kickstart Forbes’ tenure as head coach of the Tar Heels.
"It is extremely exciting to think that I was one of the first guys that he wanted," Gallaher said. "Just knowing that UNC is where I wanted to go and coach Forbes is who I wanted to play for, it was kind of the same with him wanting me. It's a great feeling and it gets me excited to be there."
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