Once a Vaquero, always a Vaquero. This term of endearment for Glendale College athletes past and present is a perfect way to describe Bob Gagliano, who played quarterback in 1976 and 1977 and whose loyalty and support of Glendale College has never wavered in almost 30 years.
In December of 2004, just days after the announcement that the athletic field was to be named after his former coach Jim Sartoris, Gagliano was on the field putting a recruit through a workout as a favor to his former coaches. He has played in the Glendale College Foundation’s annual golf tournament, and attended the hall of fame banquet when his former teammate and current Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid was inducted in 2003.
After leaving Glendale, Gagliano attended Southwestern Louisiana and United States International University in San Diego before transferring to Utah State and playing for the Aggies in 1980. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1981 and, until his playing career ended in 1995, he suited up for six NFL teams as well as the USFL’s Denver Gold.
His most productive season in the NFL was in 1988 when he led the Detroit Lions in passing with 1,671 yards and 13 touchdowns. In 1989, he earned a spot in the Lions record books with 344 yards passing against the New York Giants. But statistics notwithstanding, Gagliano would be the first to admit that his fondest memories in football were when he wore No. 11 for the Vaqueros in 1976 and 1977.
Gagliano was recruited by head coach Jim Sartoris out of Hoover High in 1976 and spent that season sharing the quarterback spot with sophomore Mark Snyder. That team finished 7-3 and third place in the Western State Conference, but everything jelled for the Vaqueros in 1977 when Gagliano took every snap at quarterback and helped lead Glendale to its first WSC title in football in 1977. He earned All-American honors that season and passed for 2,107 yards and 17 touchdowns and is the No. 3 all-time passer in school history.
Even though he worked for North American Title Company for the past four years, he has never been far away from football since his playing days ended in 1995. He has stayed close to the game by running camps for young players and helping coach the Bishop Diego High football team last year. He even had a brush with football “Hollywood style” in 1999 when he took on the role as an early advisor and trainer to actor Keanu Reeves for his role as a quarterback in the film, “The Replacements’’. Working out with Vaquero players, Gagliano helped transform Reeves from an actor who had never thrown a football into an actor who pulled off the role very convincingly.
In a signed photo with Reeves and Head Coach John Cicuto after the last day of training for the film, Gagliano expressed his feelings for Glendale College with six special words. “Once a Vaquero, always a Vaquero.’’