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penn v la salle at the palestra. la salle won 76-57 Credit: Priscilla des Gachons

Yesterday, just one day after former Penn assistant Steve Donahue was announced as the next head basketball coach at Boston College, Penn assistant John Gallagher informed the team that he will be leaving Philadelphia to take an assistant position under Donahue.

Gallagher, who has been with the Quakers for two seasons, alerted the players after their team lifting session, sophomore Zack Rosen said, telling them that he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

“Me and coach Gal were pretty close,” Rosen said. “I wish him the best of luck.”

Gallagher’s move comes just a week after Penn named Jerome Allen its head coach, and Allen announced his plans to retain both Gallagher and assistant Mike Martin.

According to Director of Athletic Communications Mike Mahoney, Gallagher has also alerted Allen of his decision to move to Boston. The assistant told Mahoney the news was now “public knowledge.”

Neither Allen nor Gallagher could be reached for comment yesterday. What Gallagher’s move means to Allen and the rest of the team — including the many recruits for whom Gallagher was the point man — remains a mystery that may not be solved until the Quakers take the court next fall.

“A lot of the guys understand that this is a business,” said Rosen, a Wharton sophomore.

Gallagher’s departure means Allen will have to begin searching for a replacement assistant.

Rosen said he has “zero inclinations” as to who would fill Gallagher’s spot.

When asked if he’d like to see Temple assistant and Allen’s best friend Shawn Trice move to Penn, Rosen offered a simple “that would be awesome,” but added that he has heard nothing about the replacement.

“I wish we knew,” he said.

The repercussions of Gallagher’s move may also be significant for the recruiting class, many of whom recently said they would decommit if Allen had not been named head coach.

Whether the same holds true for the assistant remains to be seen.

Gallagher spent two years working at Penn after serving as associate coach at Hartford.

He has strong ties to the Philadelphia region — he played college ball at St. Joseph’s, after which he went to La Salle as an assistant in 1999. He also spent time as an assistant at Lafayette.

Gallagher has at least one tie to the school he will join next season: his sister Joan played basketball at Boston College.

Columbia head coach Joe Jones will join Gallagher as an assistant on the BC bench, according to a report Wednesday afternoon from The New York Daily News.

The trio of Donahue, Gallagher and Jones makes for an Eagles’ coaching staff full of Ivy talent.

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