Galehouse looks to enlighten others

By – Jason Keith – Community Newspaper Company. www.cnc.com

Thursday, April 8, 2004

It’s supposed to be the the most important decision in any young person’s life.

The bottom line is that picking a college or university to attend is the most important decision early on in anyone’s career, but most kids, especially high school athletes, aren’t prepared to make it.

Many things go into choosing a college for any high school student, but when you factor in potential scholarships, athletic programs, and level of competition for a high school athlete, the decision can be somewhat overwhelming.

In many cases, kids and parents end up making the wrong choice, especially those athletes looking to play their sport in college.

Sometimes it’s because they don’t do enough research, wait too long to really start looking, or simply weigh name value and recognition too much in their decision making process. As a result, kids aren’t always going to school that best fits them.

More often than not, they find out the hard way they made the wrong choice.

This is what happened to former Lexington High standout and resident Dave Galehouse, who was a four year starter on the LHS golf team, as well as a baseball player his senior season.

Galehouse had a nightmare college career, both in baseball and socially, bouncing from one college to the next until he finally settled on Fairfield University. A Division 1 school, he played baseball for one season, got injured, and ended up having to give up completely. He did receive his degree, but it took longer than expected.

Not wanting other kids to make the same mistakes he made, Galehouse has made it his mission to inform the high school public, parents and students alike, about the college recruiting process, how to research, gain scholarships, evaluate your own talent, and ultimately, find the right school for each individual.

His web site, www.varsityedge.com, is a advertisement-free mecca of information for those looking to play sports at the next level, and find the right college for them. He has also co-authored a book, The Making of a Student-Athlete, Succeeding in the College Selection, Application, and Athletic Recruiting Process. 

“It was my junior year, as I was sitting in the library, I started to think about everything that had gone on, and I started to jot down some notes,” said Galehouse of his own personal experience. “I tried to write a baseball recruiting guide, but the more I wrote down, the more I realized that the concepts could be used for any sport.”

What once was supposed to be a book, he put off the project. After doing some more research and finding other journals and books about the subject, he picked it back up in 1997. At the time he was working for SchoolSports Magazine, and got the idea to start a web site.

The web site led to the book, which is now a comprehensive guide on how to pick a college as a student athlete.

“It was going to be a book 8-9 years ago, but what I realized was that after looking at the other books out there, there was still a need for a really good recruiting guide,” said Galehouse. “It took a year and a half putting it together. Part of the idea is for the greater good, I don’t want anyone to go through what I put my parents through, it was much worse than how I’ve told it.”

Galehouse’s own college story is a tale of how not to go about it, and was the inspiration for the project. He doesn’t want misery to love company in this instance.

“As a four year starter in high school, I was looking for schools to play golf,” said Galehouse. “I had no idea about the recruiting process, or how to evaluate my own talent. I did write letters to coaches, but the problem was I wasn’t targeting the right programs. I then got burned out from golfing, it had been 6-7 years straight. I fell in love with baseball again.”

Galehouse applied to five schools, and gained acceptance to three. Marquette, at the time, was the only real option. The problem was, they didn’t have a baseball team. Despite accepting the offer to go to Marquette, he agonized over whether or not to go, and ultimately decided not to.

Bentley College was a natural fit, or so it seemed, as a school close to home with good athletics.
“Bentley was a snap decision I made for the sole purpose of actually going to college like every other friend I had who had graduated high school with me,” said Galehouse in his book. “I registered in August about two weeks before class was to start. At a stringent meeting with an admissions representative who’s one real question was, “Will you be applying for financial aid?” to which I responded “No”, to which he extended his hand and responded, “Welcome to Bentley.”

He was there for one night before deciding that it wasn’t the place for him, and he took a year off completely.

“The question was what to do with that year,” said Galehouse. “I had the opportunity to really research schools, but I still didn’t really know how to do that.”

He applied to one school, Rollins College in Florida, where he planned to walk on to the baseball team. After attending, 12 days later he was cut from the team.

“It was a big mess, even for the kids that were there that had gotten recruited,” said Galehouse.
After spending one year in the sun at Rollins, he transferred, this time to Fairfield University. He walked onto the baseball team, played immediately for the whole season, but broke his collar bone at the end of the season. As a sophomore, other kids had gotten better, while he was recovering.

“I was kind of on the outside looking in,” said Galehouse. “Sitting on the bench in New England is not an enjoyable thing, I realized it wasn’t going to change, so I decided to give it up.”

Now all his energy goes into running his web sites, one of which is varsityedge.com. 

What has become obvious to Galehouse and his co-author of the book, Ray Lauenstein, is that this is a problem that nationwide could and should be addressed. It’s a noble project that both have embarked upon to try to educate high school students.

“All the articles on Dave’s web site are free, and we think that people can get the information,” said Lauenstein. “The book helps, and for $25 it’s not a bad investment. Dave has been doing it without any revenue for 3-4 years, and I’ve been doing it with minimal revenue, so anyone who thought we were doing it just for the money isn’t right.”

The web site and book is helping people, plain and simple. In the feedback section of Galehouse’s site, one mother explained how her son decided to create his own web site essentially outlining everything about him, including grades, SAT scores, and contact information for his coaches.

He ended up at a school that was perfect for him, like everyone else should.

“Formatted the book was 400 pages, and we had to cut out 50,” said Galehouse with a laugh, who had to self publish the book. “We basically blew the lid off the recruiting process, and included a lot of things.”

Items covered in the book include athletic camps and how to evaluate them, personal training, and how to succeed as an athlete at the college level. The site and book also cover misconceptions about scholarships, sports, and programs available at schools. For Galehouse, his opportunity was lost.

“The problem is you only have 4-5 years to make a college career work,” he said. “If you lose your job you can always get another one, but in college athletics, it’s so important to do it right the first time. You can only transfer so many times, and the grass isn’t always greener.”

It’s a labor of love that both Galehouse and Lauenstein hope will take off and provide those who need to know the information vital to making good decisions. Galehouse, 31, has no intentions of slowing down.

“It’s just writing and updating,” said Galehouse, who maintains the site himself, does all the research, interviewing, and writing. “It’s something that I enjoy doing. It’s a continuous learning process, but the basic concepts are the same.”