CHARLOTTESVILLE — Jade Galyan wasn’t born an Eastern Hancock Royal, but she fell in love with the blue and white.

A 2001 Boonville graduate and current Eastern Hancock Middle School teacher, Galyan has been named the new girls varsity track coach. She replaces Jerry Cain, who spent the past five seasons with the Royals.

Born and raised in a small town, Galyan felt right at home when she landed at the school after teaching and coaching at Tecumseh during the 2010-11 season. After four more seasons leading the middle school boys team with her husband Michael, who also teaches at Eastern Hancock, Galyan was a shoe-in for Cain.

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Cain retired after more than 35 years of coaching and led the girls to four consecutive Mid-Hoosier Conference titles. Last season, the middle school boys team also earned a MHC championship under Galyan.

The Daily Reporter caught up with the Southern Indiana native to talk about her track career and the upcoming season.

DR: Can you talk about your career around the sport prior to coming to Eastern Hancock?

JG: I am originally from the Evansville area and went to the University of Southern Indiana. I ran track in high school and was a long-jumper and hurdler. I went to state in both of those events. I went to college and got two bachelor degrees, one in foreign relations and one in social studies education. I had an opportunity to run at Ball State, but I turned it down to stay close to home. I applied for jobs at schools in the area and just happened to get an interview at Eastern Hancock. My husband (Michael) and I actually met at the school and have coached together for the last four years. It has been kind of a crazy journey.

DR: Why were you interested in track and field in the first place, specifically hurdles and the long jump?

JG: I was never the fastest on our team. Usually if you are a good sprinter, but not the fastest, you try hurdles. And I am 6-foot-1, so I got over them pretty easy. My coaches down there really pushed me and it was just a good fit. I also cheered through high school.

DR: How would you describe your coaching style and what do you bring to the table in that regard?

JG: I focus on personal records. I love to get first place — who doesn’t? — but I want to see the athletes grow. Even if they don’t win a lot, I want to see them grow. They can start out as a freshman and be the No. 5 person in their event. By the time they are a senior, they can be No. 1. That is my strategy. I have seen that success and know what it feels like.

DR: How do you think being with the middle school team the last four seasons will help ease the transition back to high school coaching?

JG: The middle school was great and coaching the boys was awesome. It is definitely different than coaching the girls. I have gotten to know the kids, and we had 43 boys on the team last year. It is so fun to coach them and get to know their strengths. We get to watch them grow. Now to the high school, I think it will be a smooth transition. It is kind of the same growth pattern. I have been out of it (high school) for the last few years, but I am ready to get out there.

DR: What was your first impression with the group you have this year?

JG: My first impression was that we are young. We are so raw. We only have five girls (of 24) who have ever run before. But I see big things for us this year; they have so much talent. A lot of girls are former softball players or from other sports and wanted to try running. I am really excited. All the girls really seem to get along and are really encouraging. No matter what, they try to build each other up. We are such a cohesive unit already.

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Kris Mills is a sports reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 317-477-3230 or kmills@greenfieldreporter.com.