Joy Marie Galliart, who will take the reins of the highly-successful Washburn Rural softball program in the 2023-2024 school year, was born and raised in Oklahoma, where she has also spent her entire high school softball coaching career.

FvpiIAXWcAA fa2Joy Marie Galliart speaks to her future Washburn Rural softball team and Rural parents Monday at the school. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

But Galliart's ties to Kansas also run deep.

Galliart played softball at Washburn University and graduated from WU with a bachelor’s degree in biology and while one of her daughters currently attends Washburn her other daughter is right down the road at Kanas State.

"They are two of the big reasons why this job was appealing to me, so that I could come up here and be closer to them,'' said Galliart, who met her new team and Rural parents Monday night at Rural. "When they gave me their approval I was super excited about the possibility and I knew it was something that I wanted to pursue pretty heavily.''

Galliart comes to Washburn Rural from Bixby High School in Bixby, Okla. after previously coaching at her alma mater, Bishop Kelley High in Tulsa, Okla.

"I've been at Bixby the last 14 years, so I've been there for a long time and now here I am, ready to start another chapter in my teaching and coaching book, so to speak.''

Through her previous ties to Washburn and Topeka, Galliart said she is familiar with Washburn Rural and its softball program.

"I know a lot about the tradition of Washburn Rural,'' Galliart said. "Playing at Washburn I played with teammates who played here and they had lots of friends so I got to know a lot of people in the area. I know the tradition is super rich here and my goal is to continue to build on that and to continue to improve upon that because I know how strong it is.

"I want players in my program to be able to experience state championships. I was fortunate enough to experience that as a player multiple times and I've also experienced it as a coach. And once you have that feeling, at least for me, that feeling has never gone away so every year that's my goal, to try to be a part of sharing that experience with my players so I hope that at some point we're able to do that here, hopefully in the very near future.''

Galliart will take over for Liz Stover, who will step down as the Junior Blues' coach at the conclusion of the current season after accepting a teaching position at Shawnee Mission South High School.

Galliart’s past teams have posted a state runner-up finish and two state quarterfinal finishes. She was named All-State Coach in 2008 and 2019 and has coached several All-State players.

Galliart will assume her new coaching duties this summer and will teach in the Washburn Rural science department at the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

Stover is in her second season as Rural's head coach and led the Junior Blues to a runnerup finish in the Class 6A state tournament in 2022.

The Junior Blues finished their 2023 regular season with a 17-3 record and will compete in a 6A regional tournament the week of May 15-18.


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