David Galloway didn't start out trying to be recognized. He didn't want to be thought of as the best athlete in Brandon High School history. Getting his No. 85 eventually retired was the farthest thing from his mind.
"When we came home from school," Galloway said. "We just went out and played everything … basketball, football, whatever. We played because we loved it."
Mr. Galloway, welcome to the annals of Brandon history.
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Galloway, who starred for Brandon, the University of Florida and eventually the National Football League, will become the first football player ever to have his number retired tonight when the Eagles face Freedom in their homecoming game at 7:30.
"It's a great honor," Galloway said. "I loved this school and it is amazing to be able to be recognized here again."
Galloway made the Eagles' athletic fields his personal playground in the late '70s. A gifted three-sport star, Galloway earned All-American honors in football, basketball, and track and field while at Brandon.
Whatever Galloway did athletically, he excelled in.
"It's good for the kids of today because they can see that (Galloway) walked the halls just like they are doing now," assistant principal Tibor Kovacs said. "(Galloway) is someone who excelled and they can do the same thing if they work hard."
When Galloway's number is retired tonight, it won't be the first time his name is immortalized. Galloway is also a member of the UF Sports Hall of Fame.
"Both are tremendous honors," he said. "This is just amazing to me considering where I came from."
Galloway fondly remembered his time at Brandon, citing the years he spent with his teammates in various sports.
"I loved competing and spending time with the guys on all the teams I played," he said.
But Galloway wasn't the typical high school student. Both of his parents died before he was 10, leaving Galloway's sisters to raise him.
"I was young, so sports and school were my outlet," Galloway said. "But I did mature quickly."
Galloway essentially grew up and went through Brandon thanks to the help of his sisters Shelley and Cynthia, who are nine and seven years older than him, respectively.
"They made me tough," he said.
After an All-American career as a Gator, Galloway played 10 seasons in the NFL with the Cardinals (in St. Louis and Phoenix) and Denver Broncos. But looking back at his career, Galloway — a married man of 28 years who runs a marriage ministry in North Miami Beach — said his standout accomplishments are always near. In addition to his wife Josie, Galloway shares a "special relationship" with his three children.
"My greatest success by far is my family," he said. "They are the foundation that everything I do is built upon."
Brandon Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org