An identical outlook

For twins Deege and Tommy Galt, whose father is a Terps coach, family and football go together

October 15, 2007|By Heather A. Dinich | Heather A. Dinich,Sun reporter

COLLEGE PARK -- When Maryland defensive tackle Deege Galt was hunched over his crutches on the sideline at Byrd Stadium for the 2006 season opener against William and Mary, the pain from his season-ending knee injury was secondary to one overwhelming realization that has stuck with him far longer than the torn ligament.

"I was on crutches on the field, sitting out there thinking, `Dang, this is the first game I've ever not played with my brother,'" he said. "The very first game. Ever."

For twin Terps Tommy and Deege Galt, whose father, Dwight, is Maryland's longtime director of strength and conditioning, their lives - which began 16 minutes apart March 12, 1987 - have forever been intertwined by family and football. Though they share the same looks and the same apartment, the Galt brothers play on opposing sides of the football and always have. The redshirt sophomores are both stuck behind older, more experienced players on the depth chart but said the benefits of their unique family situation outweigh their minutes on the field.

"Who doesn't want playing time?" Deege Galt said. "It's been our dream since we were kids to play here. To run on that field, run out there on senior day, it's been a dream for us. It's coming true as we're progressing and going, but to be very blunt and honest, we came here to be together.

"There was a point where we were looking at other schools, but a lot of the schools we looked at were ACC schools, and I couldn't bear to stand on the other sideline against my father," he said. "I don't know if I could do it."

Even if they never emerge from their roles as backups, Deege Galt said, "it would definitely be well worth it," he said. "Definitely well worth it."

Deege Galt recently looked at the mug shots of him and his brother in the football media guide and smiled.

"That's a handsome fellow, ain't it?"

Deege, whose full name is Dwight Galt IV, is 16 minutes older than Tommy. Deege is a defensive lineman who doesn't travel but could be bumped up on the depth chart this week in light of a recent injury to backup tackle Travis Ivey; Tommy is a tight end and made the travel squad this year.

There are slight physical differences that distinguish them - Tommy is an inch taller, their hairlines are a little different. Tommy has a little dimple in his cheek that Deege doesn't. Deege has the scar on his left knee from the Aug. 18, 2006, surgery. And, of course, they have different jersey numbers. This is where the family's "connections" have helped.

Angie Galt, the boys' older sister, used to baby-sit for Maryland equipment manager Ronnie Ohringer. She persuaded Ohringer to order special jerseys as a Christmas present for their mom, Jan.

Equal billing

Tommy's number 45 is on the front, and his brother's No. 56 is on the back.

The Galt women always try to get to games early for Terp Alley, where fans line the players' and coaches' entrance into the stadium on game day.

"It's a special feeling to know that your mom and two sisters sit in the stands with posters and jerseys," Tommy said. "Your dad is on the sideline, and he's obviously your biggest fan. Your brother is on the sideline, the same thing. This is our life. All six of us are in it together. It's a funny little thing we have here. They know about the bad times, they know about the good times. It's the support that's most important to me."

Literally since they were in diapers, Deege and Tommy Galt have been coming to Maryland football practices.

Their birthday parties consisted of about 15 friends playing basketball at Cole Field House and football at Byrd Stadium. They ate pizza in the locker room and cake in the meeting rooms. They hid in bins with the dirty uniforms and in lockers, played tag, brought their dad lunch during two-a-days.

For 17 years, Jan Galt ran a bingo program Thursday nights to help with the tuition to send their children to Catholic school, so at 4 p.m. every Thursday, she would drop the boys off in College Park with their father. It wasn't until they were playing high school football at Good Counsel, though, that it began to pay dividends on the field.

"Their advantage with me was from ninth grade through 12th grade," Dwight Galt said. "They had a huge advantage. They were trained better than any high school kid in the state of Maryland. I know that for a fact."

Dave Sollazzo, Maryland's recruiting coordinator, knew it, too. It didn't hurt that Angie Galt baby-sat for Sollazzo, too.

"She would come back and say, `Sollaz asked how you guys are doing,'" Tommy Galt said. " `He said to call him next week.'"

Sollazzo said he has known the family since the mid-1980s, when he was a graduate assistant and Dwight Galt was an assistant strength coach.

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