Ahmaad Galloway, a former running back for the University of Alabama and San Diego Chargers, has unexpectedly died. He was 42.
Galloway was found dead in his apartment in St. Louis, Missouri, on Monday, Jan. 9, during a welfare check. His cause of death has yet to be determined.
When Galloway didn’t report to his job as an eighth-grade English teacher at Compton-Drew Middle School, principal Susan Reid said she knew something wasn’t right.
“Ahmaad was always on time, very responsible, so we knew something might be wrong,” Reid told WVTM 13. “There wasn’t anything disrupted at Ahmaad’s apartment, so we are thinking that it could have been a medical issue.”
A native of Millington, Tennessee, Galloway played for The Crimson Tide from 1999 through 2002. After infrequently playing during his freshman year due to serving as a backup to Shaun Alexander, Galloway had a breakout sophomore year. His playing time increased significantly.
His junior year was even better and expectations were high for his senior year before a knee injury sidelined him for the season. That didn’t stop the Denver Broncos from selecting Galloway in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL draft.
The team thought of him as a critical part of their future.
Galloway sat out his rookie season to continue rehabbing his knee injury. Upon full recovery, he was sent to the Broncos’ European affiliate, the Scottish Claymores. He also played with the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe before returning home to the U.S. in a trade to the San Diego Chargers.
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He retired in 2004 after being released by the Chargers and later found a new niche working with children as a coach and educator.
“He was patient and kind. The kids absolutely loved him. He was a young coach, but the kids flocked to him,” said Caleb Ross, who hired Galloway as a receivers coach in 2011 at Thompson High School.
Galloway’s family members and friends remembered him fondly.
“Ahmaad was always quiet and humble,” his sister Kimberly Slaughter said. “My brother loved football growing up and later loved his children Austin and Aubrey.”
“When Ahmaad arrived at Bama, he was humble, yet mature beyond his years,” former Alabama offensive lineman Griff Redmill said. “He was mature and very put together. I knew right away that he was a person that could be my friend for life.”
“We talked frequently about life, not football,” former Alabama linebacker Marvin Constant said. “We talked just a week ago and he sounded great. We have been very close since 2002 when we spent time together rehabbing our knee injuries.”
“Growing up he always said that he was going to reach the NFL, and he did,” his cousin Monaco Houston said. “He had a quiet smile; he was very shy. As he grew, he was always great with kids- he was loved very much.”
It’s a quality Reid knows well. She said Galloway’s death was a great loss and they have closed his classroom door out of respect. Reid added the students would make banners to honor Galloway’s memory and receive grief counseling after losing one of their favorite teachers.
“It’s going to take some time for the students to digest this,” Reid said. “The kids here loved Ahmaad so much.”