WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Kelloggsville’s Don Galster reached the point where he wasn’t enjoying coaching as much as he used to.
That’s when he knew the time had finally come.
Galster recently resigned as head football coach at Kelloggsville High School after spending the last 30 years at the helm.
“I always told my wife that was going to be the sign,” Galster said. “When I wasn’t having as much fun as I used to then I knew it was time to step away. It was fun to be around the kids, but the grind wasn’t as fun and we had to fight low numbers, especially this year.”
Galster, who recently ended his 37th season of coaching after lower level stints at Ottawa Hills and East Kentwood, led the Kellogsville Rockets to six O-K Silver Conference championships and eight playoff appearances during his tenure.
Kelloggsville recorded a program-best 10-1 record two years ago, but it struggled with injuries and smaller numbers this past season.
The Rockets canceled their season after an 0-6 start and had to forfeit their final three games.
“It was tough, and I felt bad for the kids,” said Galster, who also will retire from teaching at the end of the school year after 35 years in the classroom. “It was hard going in each week knowing you were outmanned and were playing kids that should’ve been on the junior varsity. We were still trying to put a competitive team on the field, but we were concerned about their safety.”
Galster spent one season as the junior varsity coach before taking over the reins of the program a month before practice started.
“The previous coach resigned just before the Fourth of July and they told me I was going to be the head coach,” Galster said. “I was just trying to keep my head above water that first year because there had not been a lot of success at Kelloggsville.
“We had our ups and downs and then finally got things going in a pretty good direction. We started to turn things around and become competitive in the mid-90s.”
The Rockets had five consecutive winning seasons from 1996-2000. They won their first conference title in 1997 and reached the postseason for the first time in school history in 2000.
“It was tough the first few years because we were in the O-K Blue and playing big schools, but then we moved to the Silver and played against schools more our size and it helped us become competitive and helped us build some tradition,” Galster said. “We did the best we could to build a program and bring some pride to Kelloggsville as far as football.”
Kelloggsville had its most impressive run of five straight playoff berths from 2007-2011.
“The first goal was to always win a conference championship and making the playoffs was icing on the cake,” Galster said. “We worked hard to put a competitive team on the field each week.
“It’s been a good ride and a lot of fun. It will be weird when August rolls around, but I have some new challenges in life and I’m looking forward to them.”
Galster will continue coaching, though it won’t be football. He has plans to join the Aquinas College softball program.