Mitch Galiyas knew five years ago that this would be his final year as a full-time employee at Montour High School -- he just didn't tell anybody.
Galiyas will retire as Montour's longest-tenured athletic director at the end of the month.
"My last day is the 28th," said Galiyas, who has been employed at Montour for 38 years, including the past 18 as the Spartans athletic director. "I've been blessed. I've had the job I always wanted. Like the adage says: If you love your job, you'll never work a day of your life."
Galiyas, who grew up in the Mon Valley calling McKeesport, Port Vue, West Mifflin and Glassport home at various times of his life, accepted a retirement package that was offered by the district five years ago.
"Our Act 93 [retirement] agreement is up this year, so I knew this would be my last year," said Galiyas, 62, who said he recently applied for Social Security.
"They always say that you will know when it's time to retire. I'm ready. I've been working 47 years. My first job was at age 15 at the Memorial Theater in McKeesport. It's time to take it easy."
Galiyas, a Kennedy resident, graduated from West Mifflin South High School in 1968. He then attended Arkansas College and earned a degree in history in 1972. After graduating, he returned to Western Pennsylvania and earned his teaching certificate at Pitt the following year.
"This is my 38th year as a full-time employee at Montour," Galiyas said. "I was a history teacher for 21 years and appeared in Who's Who among American Teachers in 1994. That meant a lot to me because you have to be nominated by a former student."
Prior to becoming Montour's athletic director 18 years ago, Galiyas spent 18 years coaching football and 12 coaching volleyball.
"I coached football at five different schools," said Galiyas. "I was head coach at Carlynton and Quigley, and an assistant at West Allegheny, Baldwin and Montour. I used to work at Joe Butler's camp as an evaluator. I really enjoyed that."
Galiyas was the boys head volleyball coach at Montour for 12 years and his team captured a WPIAL title in 1987. He has also been a member of the WPIAL Volleyball Steering Committee since 1998.
"Mitch was my ninth grade football coach," said Mike McDonald, the athletic director and volleyball coach at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. "He was also my volleyball coach my last three years. I was so happy when he got the athletic director job. He's a class individual who is very proud to be a Montour guy. He put his heart and soul into his job."
Former North Allegheny volleyball coach Bob Miller coached against Galiyas, and has served with him on the WPIAL's Volleyball Steering Committee.
"Mitch Galiyas was one of those gentlemen who took his program to a high level and kept it at a high level, then went on to become Montour's athletic director," Miller said. "You knew when you played a Mitch Galiyas team that you had to play your best every night."
Galiyas became a member of the Volleyball Steering Committee in 1998.
"Mitch has served the [WPIAL] for a number of years," WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley said. "He has been willing to volunteer his time for the betterment of the league. I've known Mitch for a while. He will be a tough one to replace. Hopefully, they pick somebody who is as easy to deal with."
Galiyas is most proud of his status as a certified master athletic administrator.
"I had to attend training and leadership courses, take a competency test, and do a practicum to complete the requirements of a CMAA," said Galiyas, who became certified in 2005.
"At the time I received my certification, I was one of only 13 athletic directors in Pennsylvania, and 207 nationwide, to reach that status. It was a great honor to be in such an elite group of individuals."
Galiyas is also proud of what Montour's athletic programs have been able to accomplish during his tenure as athletic director, especially in the past six years.
"I've heard people refer to us as the North Allegheny of Class AAA," said Galiyas, referring to North Allegheny's unofficial status of having the WPIAL's most successful athletic program. "[Montour] won 21 gold medals -- WPIAL and PIAA -- during my tenure. That's something to be proud of."
Galiyas is also proud of Montour's association with the ESPN show "Bound for Glory," a 2005 television series that chronicled the football program for one season and installed former NFL player Dick Butkus as the Spartans coach.
"That really jump-started our football program," said Galiyas, who convinced ESPN to select Montour as the school it featured. "We struggled that season, but since then we've had a 59-17 record and made three appearances at Heinz Field [for the WPIAL title game]."
Galiyas' secretary, Donna Udvarhelyi, organized a surprise party for him on May 31.
"I was quite flattered and humbled by the turnout," Galiyas said. "We had 92 people attend, including all of our current coaches."
Galiyas claims that he wants to "take it easy," but it doesn't look that way.