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Sun Devil Athletics Mourns the Passing of Mike Gallagher

Nov 4, 2022

PHOENIX - Mike Gallagher, who represented Sun Devil Athletics and the ASU Baseball program for 60 years in the Phoenix area, passed away late last week. He was 78.
 
Gallagher served in a variety of roles for Arizona State including the Chair of the then-Sun Angel Club from 2001-03 and was a student-athlete on the baseball team from 1964-66. He has also achieved significant impact and recognition from the Arizona State University College of Law. 
 
Gallagher was always a significant benefactor during fundraising campaigns for the Sun Devils. In addition to his duties with the Sun Angel Club, he donated a set of College World Series Rings that the team was presented with as a part of the 2001 dedication of Bobby Winkles Field.
 
"Mike brought joy to every room he walked into," Sun Devil Hall of Famer Don Bocchi said. "He loved Arizona State. Through his entire life, and all the success he had, the most admirable part about him was that he never forgot where he came from. He was always thinking about ASU and how everyone here was doing."
 
 

 
 
A left-handed pitcher with a high leg kick, Gallagher played on ASU's 1964 baseball team that went to the first College World Series in program history. In his Sun Devil career, Gallagher pitched to a 2.06 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched to go with 19 strikeouts. In the 1964 World Series season, he twirled 4.2 innings with a 2.14 ERA.
 
Gallagher's squad were tonesetters, as the Sun Devils now boast 22 appearances on the biggest stage in college baseball.
 
"Throughout his ASU career, even with limited action, Mike participated in all practices, coached the bases during games, and provided a lot of humor and spirit to the team as well," said former head coach Bobby Winkles in a 2007 Sun Devil Club newsletter. "He earned his scholarship."
 
Gallagher was larger than life. At a Sun Devil Baseball alumni game, he entered the game from a helicopter that landed on the mound and immediately began warming up for his relief outing. He was not seen in the bullpen prior to his appearance. He simply landed and began readying to pitch.
 
"Mike was so good at everything he did," Sun Devil Baseball historian Mike Polachek said. "He energized everyone he was around."
 
Gallagher graduated ASU in 1966 with a B.A. in history and earned his J.D. in 1970.
In between degrees, he had a brief stint in Minor League Baseball during the 1966 season. Gallagher threw to a 2-1 record and 15 strikeouts in just 17 innings with the Kansas City Athletics affiliate Modesto Reds in the California League. 
 
The next season, he was a scout for the New York Mets before returning to ASU in 1968 and beginning his law degree.

Gallagher has since played several important roles in the ASU law realm. He was a member and then President of the Arizona State University Law Society and a member of the ASU College of Law Board of Visitors.
 
"Mike Gallagher is what all Sun Devils should aspire to be," Head Baseball Coach Willie Bloomquist said. "To use this experience as a student-athlete to proudly represent ASU, compete for championships, and prepare for a life of service and positive impact on others – towards your family, a profession, and an entire community in Mike's case. I can't think of another Letterwinner who loved ASU more than Mike, and I am proud to have known him."
 
In 1978, Gallagher founded Gallagher & Kennedy, one of the most prominent Phoenix-area law firms to this day, with Mike Kennedy. He practiced in a wide variety of litigation matters and since 1995, has earned recognition as a Best Lawyer by Best Lawyers of America. In 2015, he earned the honor of Phoenix Sports Law Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers and was recognized as Southwest Super Lawyer annually from 2007-18.
 
Gallagher also spent time in executive positions with the Arizona Diamondbacks and was a Life Member of the Phoenix Thunderbirds, the group that pioneered the PGA Tour's Waste Management Phoenix Open. 
 
"Part of what made him such a good litigator was his ability to talk with no preparation," Polachek said. "He could get up in front of a room of people on whim and talk for hours."
 
In addition, Gallagher served as a Director of Phoenix Suns Charities. He also played key roles in bringing the Diamondbacks and Arizona Cardinals to the Phoenix-area with the respective organizations and city governments.
 
Gallagher was born in Le Mars, Iowa, on April 14, 1944, and grew up in Los Angeles with his parents, Bill and Ellie, and his younger brother, Pat.
 
He is survived by his wife Barbara (ASU '70) of 51 years, his son Sean and wife Roxann, his daughter Ryanne and husband Jose, granddaughters Lovey, Riley, and Elliot, and grandson Mike Gallagher.
 
A celebration of Mike Gallagher's life is expected next spring.