Tougher Than Leather

School Parking Lot Attendant and Former SRO, Alan Gallagher Contributes Handmade Relic to Football Team’s Lasting Legacy


Photo by Tristan Hernandez

Cedar Park’s varsity boys football team emerges from their bust-out before facing Rouse on Sept. 27. The importance of playing with total effort during practice and games is emphasized through the weekly earning of the leather belt. “Whoever gets the most turnovers within the week during practice, that person gets to wear the belt before the game,” senior DE Ben Bell said.

Addie Dawson, Reporter

School parking lot attendant by day and an advanced leather tailor by night, Alan Gallagher stands as a well-known figure on campus.

Gallagher’s involvement with the school began five years ago when he found employment as CPHS’s school resource officer (SRO) who wore the badge to protect the campus. After two and a half years serving on campus, Gallagher retired from law enforcement but decided to stay on staff as the school’s parking lot attendant and has been serving for the last two and a half years.

Having retired from the badge, Gallagher picked up the hobby of working with leather, creating beautiful bound art upon request from his friends and family. He has been perfecting his artwork ever since, and with the knowledge of his craftsmanship, defensive varsity coach, Steve Battles, personally asked Gallagher to create the defensive belt. 

“The coaches approached me and so I did some research on it and was willing to accept the challenge,” Gallagher said.

 Leather belts have been used for defensive celebratory moments for college football games since 2015 when Alabama’s college team created the Ball Out Belt, given to the defender who caused the last takeaway. Explained in an article for TDA by reporter Jacob Silberman published in 2018. Cedar Park’s defensive coaches wanted a symbol for the boy’s success during the games, so they turned to Gallagher for the job. 

“When a defensive player causes a turnover or recovers a turnover, like a fumble or interception, they get the turnover belt for a period of time after the play,” Gallagher said.

Photo by Sarah Johnson
After a defensive steal, the leather belt is held up for the celebration of the play. “The belt strives the importance of competition and pushes everyone throughout the week,” senior DE Ben Bell said.

He worked for a total of 10-15 hours and stamped, stitched and dyed the belt all by hand.

“In making the belt, I got vegetable-tan leather and wet it to stamp pictures onto it and carved the words into the belt,” Gallagher said. “Afterward, the leather dye goes on it and it sits to dry. The three pictures on the belt stand for the three different defensive positions on the field, the linemen, linebackers, and the backfield or safety, each represented by a different animal.”

After completion, the belt was gifted to the defensive players on the varsity football team to stand as a symbol at the Friday night games. Students in the student fan section at the games hold the belt up to the crown when the players make a great defensive play and gift the belt to the player who gets the credit for the play.

“The belt fires everyone up in the student section,” senior student section leader Mathew Minor said. “It allows the students to interact with their favorite athletes they normally only see from far away. The players get to see first hand the recognition from their fans and both sides get super energized.”

It was moving to watch the excitement that the belt gives between the student body and the players on the field,”

— Alan Gallagher

Gallagher’s first time to see the belt in action was at the homecoming game when Cedar Park came out on top of Cinco Ranch with a final score of 51-3. 

“It was moving to watch the excitement that the belt gives between the student body and the players on the field,” Gallagher said. “I know how excited the players get toward the end of the season when playoffs come up, and I know how special that is for them. I would like to see the younger players get to experience that excitement going further in the season this year, so long as the team keeps their mind focused on the goal.” 

The belt will continue to be used at the Friday night games for defensive plays as long as the leather will hold out, and according to Gallagher, that time span should last long after most of us have graduated, leaving behind a piece of Cedar Park history for the years to come.