Nov. 14, 2012
The "Eagles in the Pros" series highlights former Boston College baseball players who have been successful in careers outside of baseball. The second in the series features Greg Gailius ('77), who has worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers for 35 years, rising to partner.
Photo: Greg Gailius, head coach Mike Gambino, freshman Chris Shaw and Loretta Gailius at the Scholarship Luncheon. Shaw is the recipient of the Gailius Family Scholarship.
Q: How has attending Boston College helped in your career?
A: I was pretty grateful to get into BC. BC has evolved so much as an institution and as a great brand. It has incredible credibility in the marketplace. Plus, the BC alumni network is just unbelievable. Harvard might own the world, as [former Boston College baseball coach] Eddie Pellagrini used to say, but BC owns New England.
It's all about hard work, perseverance, having a good work ethic, a good attitude and teamwork. All those things are key in sports and key in business.
Q: What lessons did your BC baseball experiences give you that have helped in your career and life?
A: The Jesuit values that you really learn in terms of working hard and doing for others are important. I will tell you the things that have always stood by me are to never take anything for granted learning how to think. Pelly used to say, you have to be smart to play baseball. You can't really practice half the things that happen in a baseball game. In baseball, you never know where that ball is going to be hit, so Pelly thought you had to be pretty smart to play the game.
Baseball taught me to work hard and really learn to trust my teammates. People who played athletics really get it when it comes to teamwork in the business world. They think it's really made a big difference.
I am a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and have been there for 35 years. I've had some amazing opportunities and a lot of them are because I know how to team well with people and how to adapt to the situation. I think that athletics really teaches you that.
Q: What was one of your favorite moments at BC?
A: I have a lot of them. I can remember the first hit I got when I was in college, which was against Harvard. It was a big deal. We always loved to play them; we would play them twice a year. I played at BC before there was even the Big East. We played in the old ECAC but we played all the Ivy League schools and all the state schools. I'll never forget I got my first hit against Harvard as a freshman.
I remember a game my senior year before the ECAC playoffs to get to the College World Series, which was a big deal. We were playing down at Providence College. I hit a ball over the centerfielder's head. There was a guy on first and we were down, 1-0. It was the eighth inning. I got to second base and I thought I was going to have a double. Bill Cunis, who was the third-base coach, waved me to third and then he waved me in. I scored and we won, 2-1. Well, low and behold, they had this fence [in the outfield] and the centerfielder got his shoelaces stuck underneath it and he couldn't reach the ball. That's why I scored. We ended up winning both games of the doubleheader, but it was a funny moment.
The other thing that I will tell you that people will get a kick out of would be about the bus rides with Eddie Pellagrini. The stories he told ... he played in the major leagues in the 40s and the 50s. He met every great player in the games, going back to Babe Ruth and Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. About 10 or 12 years ago, I was out in San Francisco playing golf. All of a sudden, Joe DiMaggio walks in and sits down. I am with a bunch of guys I work with and I said, I am going to go talk to him. I walked up to him and said, Mr. DiMaggio, my name is Greg Gailius, I played for Eddie Pellagrini at Boston College and he would have loved for me to come over and say hi to you on his behalf. [Joe] stand ups and shakes my hand, gives me a hug and said, tell Eddie I miss him. The stories Pelly told on the bus over the four years that I played taught me so much about baseball and life. Those are the kinds of experiences that I had that were special.
Q: How did you come up with the first Baseball Night? What was the motivation behind it?
A: Bill Flynn retired as the athletics director and Chet Gladchuk became the AD. The first week he was there, Frank Faggiano and I went out to dinner with Chet just to find out what he thought about the baseball program. He said that he needed to have a lead spring sport that he was going to invest in and he challenged us to raise money. So, we came up with the idea to have Baseball Night in Boston. We did it in December and held it in a placed called the Federal Club, which is where the BC Club is right now, so pretty ironic. We got Mo Vaughn, who played for the Red Sox, to be our guest. We gave him the award for Big East player who had been successful in the pros. John Harrington from the Red Sox came. I think that night we raised maybe $13,000 or 14,000 and all the expenses I put on my credit card because we collected most of the money at the door. So, we leveraged that event into a huge thing going forward. We've had a committee that's worked hard at it and over the years and we eventually moved it to Fenway Park.
Q: You have helped fund an endowed scholarship and funded an additional family scholarship for the baseball program. Talk about your thoughts behind doing this.
A: Going back to Eddie Pellagini, he always said, "Always make it better for the next person." I think that the Jesuit values teach you that it's all about giving back. I think that if more people had that spirit of giving back and being grateful for what they have, we'd be in a lot better place. It really goes back to Pelly instilling that mindset in all of us.
I've been fortunate in that I've helped fund the Eddie Pellagrini Scholarship and then I've turned my attention to doing the Gailius Family Scholarship. The scholarship luncheon every year is really cool, because you get to meet the student who is getting the scholarship. It's all about giving back.
When you take a step back, and you think about the education and values you got, you have a lot to be thankful for. I think you are seeing a pretty good spirit develop. It makes you feel good.