Jul. 20—Kevin Gallic didn't start playing football until his freshman year of high school at St. John XXIII College Preparatory in Katy, Texas.
It was there that, while throwing the ball around during a practice, coaches told him that while he wouldn't be a quarterback, and that long snapping could be in his future.
"I started playing, and I would play linebacker and defensive end and some offensive line," Gallic said. "One day at practice I was tossing the ball around, and my coach said, 'You'll never be a quarterback but why don't you try long snapping?' I was like, 'OK.' Practice came and they told me to go with special teams, so I started goofing around there."
Three years later, Gallic was a senior at Lewiston High School in Maine when he accepted a preferred walk-on spot as a long snapper for the University of New Hampshire's NCAA Division I football team.
"It's crazy," Gallic said. "I just love football, so, to me, a position is a position. I enjoyed it, thought it was fun."
Gallic moved from Texas to Maine for his sophomore year and attended St. Dominic Academy and joined the co-op football team with Lisbon High School for his sophomore and junior years.
"I didn't really start playing until sophomore year when I went to Lisbon, Gallic said. "I didn't know if I would be able to play a position, so I long snapped."
At Lisbon, Gallic was the long snapper as well as an offensive lineman and defensive end.
Greyhounds coach Chris Kates said that Gallic's work ethic stood out during his two years with the program, the second of which was altered by the coronavirus pandemic.
"He came to us as a sophomore and only played one year, but he is a real hard-working kid," Kates said. "He does everything you ask him to do. And it's tough for him, playing for three different high schools, but he's a hard working kid and he definitely wants to get better at his craft, and you can tell by the work he put in."
So when then then-Lewiston assistant coach Justin Bisson asked Kates about Gallic after the 6-foot tall long snapper transferred to Lewiston for his senior year, much of the talk between the coaches was about his work ethic.
"Chris said he was an extremely hard worker and is going to give 110 percent on the field every time," Bisson, who was the Blue Devils' interim head coach for most of the 2021 season, said. "He didn't disappoint."
Gallic continued to work on the craft of long snapping at each of his stops. When he joined the Blue Devils, his skill turned heads.
"We kind of hold open tryouts, and the first time he snapped it back, we kind of turned our heads and said, 'Wow,'" Bisson said. "This will be the 24th year coaching for me, and he's the best I've ever seen. I've coached the semi-pro ranks and have had four-year snappers at Husson and other places, and he's the best."
Gallic said long snapping is similar to throwing a football.
"I stretch out, making sure my legs are nice and loose — my hamstrings, especially," Gallic said of his routine. "Then I just warm up my arm by just throwing the ball. When I have the ball, it's usually 13 or 14 yards from the punter, whatever your team wants.
"I put the ball down and get set up with a nice, comfortable and authentic stance. I squat down. Everyone's hand placement is different, but I have my middle finger down the seam and I hold it how I would throw a football. It's a three-step process, so right as I am about to snap it, I pull in, kind of like how you pull a chainsaw. Then I tuck through and I just throw the ball. It's a throwing motion, just underneath."
Gallic attended some Kohl's Kicking Camps — which are held throughout the country for kickers, punters and long snappers — in New Hampshire following the 2021 high school football season to further his training and increase his exposure to college football coaches.
He stacked up well with the elite long snappers at the camps, and started working with coach Sam Lenson, a former University of Maine kicker from 2013-17 who also spent a season as a special teams quality control coach for the Black Bears.
Lenson reached out to the University of New Hampshire's special teams coordinator, Garrett McLaughlin, and told him about Gallic. McLaughlin, a Bates College assistant from 2018-21, made a trip to visit and watch Gallic, and Gallic was eventually offered a chance to play for the Wildcats.
"I went to Kohl's camps and found my ranking and where I sat skill-wise," Gallic said. "I was 108 in my class and then went to 40th after a showcase in Dallas. I'd say it's more luck and grace of God that I even got to UNH. McLaughlin heard about me and he came up here and saw me, and it was awesome."
Bisson credits Gallic's attention to detail for his constant improvement, which has continued in the seven-plus months since Lewiston's season ended.
"Obviously, he's got a skill, where some kids can and some kids can't, but he takes his coaching really well," Bisson, who will remain on the Blue Devils' staff as an assistant to new coach Jason Versey, said. "He's worked hard even in the last year, and the workouts he did in the winter and spring, he's better now than in the fall."
Gallic acknowledges that being a professional football player is "every player's dream," he said his current goals are to become a starter and get a degree at New Hampshire.