A Culture of Character

Lily Dean and Coach Galvin

Carolina’s Athletic Department recently announced the Derek and Debra Galvin Gymnastics Scholarship, an endowed scholarship that is part of The Rams Club Campaign for Carolina Athletics and its FORevHER Tar Heels women’s initiative. The scholarship serves to honor the legacy of Carolina Gymnastics Coach Derek Galvin ’76 and his wife, Debra Holloway Galvin ’75, and will be awarded annually to a team leader who embodies Galvin’s character, values and beliefs. Lily Dean, a senior studying at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, is the first recipient of the scholarship.

“I am so honored to be the first recipient of the Derek and Debra Galvin Gymnastics Scholarship because Derek has brought so much not only to Carolina gymnastics, but to the whole Carolina Athletics program,” said Dean. “Derek really does educate and inspire through athletics. I feel he has taught me and my teammates so many valuable life lessons that will forever be ingrained in us.”

Galvin competed as a Tar Heel in the early 1970s before leading the Carolina Gymnastics program for 39 seasons. In addition to leading the program to many victories, Galvin also fostered a family-like culture that has withstood decades. This continued bond is what led Carolina Gymnastics alumni to honor Galvin upon his retirement in June 2020.

“It struck me that [my teammates and I] needed to do something for Derek, knowing that he was going to be retiring,” said Galvin’s first recruit, Tammy Goldfisher ’86. “We needed to figure out something to honor his legacy. We decided on a scholarship because it is something that lives in perpetuity. It will connect him and his wife to the program forever, which was important to us.”

Galvin’s wife, Debra, has left her mark on Carolina, as well, as a Tar Heel alumna and avid supporter of Carolina Gymnastics.

“The fact that [the scholarship] honors Debra and I together is the best part about it,” said Galvin. “To be linked to an endowed athletic scholarship for a member of the gymnastic team at the university we attended and where I competed and coached is such an incredible honor.”

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