Boys’ basketball coach of the year: Dave Galley of Venice

Venice High boys' basketball coach Dave Galley poses for a photo at a game.
Coach Dave Galley guided Venice High’s boys’ basketball teams to many firsts this season.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

What Dave Galley accomplished in directing the Venice High’s boys’ basketball team to its best season in more than 70 years speaks for itself.

There was dealing with Los Angeles Unified School District COVID-19 protocols, wearing masks, testing weekly, pausing practices and changing games. The uncertainty left everyone involved not knowing what was going to happen sometimes on a daily basis.

Despite that, Venice won its first nine Western League games, knocking off Westchester twice, a team it hadn’t defeated since the 1990s. The Gondoliers were selected for the City Section Open Division playoffs, lost to Lake Balboa Birmingham in an opener, then came back in the state Division III playoffs and reached the championship game in Sacramento before losing to Chico Pleasant Valley 57-53 in one of the best games at Golden 1 Center.


Through all the ups and downs, Galley never lost focus on his players. Even after losing an overtime game to Palisades in which the officials errored in letting a winning basket count even though the shot came after the buzzer sounded, Galley kept his composure, didn’t make excuses and helped his team move forward.

He was the perfect leader for a time when leadership was required to make it through a season of uncertainty.

Corona Centennial’s Donovan Dent and Sierra Canyon’s Juju Watkins headline the L.A. Times’ All-Star boys’ and girls’ basketball teams. Read more here.

March 20, 2022