SIOUX CITY | Reminders of his Midwestern roots are all around the NAIA Softball World Series for Simpson University athletic director Tom Galbraith.
Galbraith, who grew up in Newell, Iowa, and attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, is back in Siouxland this weekend to watch his school’s softball team compete in the World Series. It is also a chance to visit family, friends and have an unexpected reunion along the way.
The trip down memory lane for Galbraith began Thursday at the Champions of Character event at Miracle Field where players from the 10 teams that qualified for the World Series spent the morning with Special Olympics athletes.
“The person who organized it all, Bruce Wilson, was my coach at Simpson College for both basketball and golf,” he said. “Probably one of the three or four most influential people in my life for people who helped me get to where I am. The fact that that worked out was really cool.”
Galbraith will also get a chance to see his mom, Jeanette, who still lives in Newell.
“My dad passed away a couple years ago so I am one of four kids and I am the youngest by a longshot … so we try to get back here on average once a year,” he said. “It is home. Newell will always be my home and I married an Army brat that doesn’t have that connection to one place.
“I have this connection to a small town, 800 people, everybody knows everybody, and the minute I come home everyone knows because my mom has either told everyone or they drive past my mom’s house and see some out-of-state plates.”
Galbraith began his duties as an AD with the Red Hawks on July 1, 2015 and his trip to Sioux City marked his first chance to travel to a national tournament to watch a Simpson University team compete.
“I am one for one,” he said. “I try to make it to all of our conference championships. I wanted to see all of our teams play at least one time on the road. Ironically, the only team I did not see play on the road this year was softball.”
His career has sent the 46-year-old to multiple stops as an assistant AD in Virginia, to the assistant commissioner with the Southwestern Athletic Conference in Alabama at the NCAA Division I level to other stops at smaller colleges including Loras Collage in Dubuque, Iowa.
Friday’s game against Saint Xavier (Ill.) was the first game he watched in Sioux City as the Red Hawks fell 1-0 to St. Xavier before concluding their tournament with a 1-0 eight-inning loss to Williams Baptist Saturday.
“This is a program that has shown to be very successful and that has nothing to do with me,” Galbraith said. “A World Series berth in 2014, a national championship in the National Christian College Athletic Association last year and now this berth.”
Galbraith said growing up near an Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference school in Buena Vista in Storm Lake, Iowa, and having attended Simpson College helped him make the decision to accept the job at Simpson University.
“It is that sense of community that all small colleges have and that Simpson University has,” he said. “When I chose Simpson College I had some Division I and Division II offers to play golf and chose a Division III school and paid my own way. I have never blinked about the choice I made. It was the right place at the right time for me.”
He can’t get away with wearing his favorite Simpson College T-shirt on the Redding, California, campus without someone noticing the school colors are different.
“I think I am the only person with the world with dual affiliations to both Simpsons,” he said.