For native Icelander Tinna Gallagher, culture, family and experiences mean everything.
And that is exactly what she plans to bring to the Oxford College of Emory women’s soccer team.
After four years as an assistant coach at Georgia College and State University, Oxford named Gallagher the head coach of the Lady Eagles, allowing her to fulfill her lifelong dream.
“When Coach [Roderick] Stubbs called me and offered me the job, I was just so honored and excited for the opportunity,” Gallagher said. “It’s always sad at the same time when you leave a good place like Georgia College, but for a career move for me, with my goal of being a head coach, this is a very good opportunity for me.”
Gallagher, who begins her first day at Oxford on August 1, has a long history of playing and coaching soccer. While in her native country, she was named to the Under-17 and Under-19 Women’s Soccer National Teams playing for the well-respected KR Reykjavík football club.
After coming to America, Gallagher continued her playing career at Auburn University at Montgomery, Alabama (AUM). During her time there, she was received three All-Southern States Conference honors and two Academic All-Conference honors, including first team honors in her senior season of 2008. During her senior season, she received the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Champion of Character award.
Gallagher joined AUM’s coaching staff in 2009 as a student assistant coach as her team advanced to the NAIA National Tournament that season.
Upon completion of her Master’s in Public Administration at AUM, she was hired as an assistant coach and instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she earned a nomination the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Superior Award.
Now Gallagher is ready to transition to life in Oxford, both as a coach and as an instructor.
“Oxford is a very high academic standard institution, and that is something that is very exciting for me because I know I will get really good students as well as athletes that want to improve,” she said.
The Oxford soccer program has a successful history and is coming off a season that ended with a NJCAA National Championship Finals appearance. While Gallagher hopes to build off that success, she said she also hopes to provide her players with “the best experience possible.”
“It’s not always about wins or losses,” she said. “It’s about the friends they make and the bus trips they go on, because that’s often what they remember. My goal is to bring a new spark, culture and family atmosphere so they can take something from the student-athlete experience that will help them grow as individuals and be successful wherever they go.”