The flag guy flies high on school spirit

Gallina had his wedding reception in the OC banquet rooms.

By Kristen Davis

Anthony Gallina has sat in seat number seven in the second row of section E2 in the O’rena for the last five years. He has attended all but three Oakland basketball games in the last ten seasons and counting.

He was never a sports fan previous to college. He grew up in Clinton Township and during his years at Chippewa Valley High School, he was a devoted band member. 

He is not sure what led him to Oakland University. All he knows is after his first tour, he was so sold that he did not apply to any other college. He knew he belonged here.

The pep band is what helped Gallina get involved on campus, despite being a commuter. He played all four of his years as an undergraduate, and it was from there that his love for college sports started.

His passion and pride for Oakland basketball grew over his years as a Grizzly, eventually leading him and fellow pep band member and roommate Ben Fielder to found Grizz Gang as an official student organization in 2008.

He now works in the admissions office on campus and lives in Auburn Hills with his wife Victoria, who he made his first connection with at an Oakland basketball game the year he ran Grizz Gang, after he was able to talk her into going despite not having much interest in sports.  

Their wedding was in April of 2014 and their reception was in the banquet rooms of the Oakland Center. Grizz was in attendance.

He and his wife have been season ticket holders since they graduated in 2008.

Gallina is known by many as a student, leader and crazy Oakland fan. But as of late, a new identity has come about – the flag guy.

Q: Why the flag?

A: My friends and I brought it to tailgate a few years ago, just to fly outside near our cars, and then one game just last year I actually brought the flag into the game. I just figured I’ll fly it and see if somebody yells at me. All the people around me were like, “that’s awesome!” I was planning to do it just one time but at the end of the game, they said, “oh they won, you better bring it back!” So then I brought it back. The first few games this year, I didn’t bring it. Everybody in the section was like, “you got to bring that flag!” So now, there’s an expectation that I didn’t even mean to start. It’s just a funny little tradition that keeps going. At the last game, I had a couple of people come up to me that said, “Oh, you’re the guy that flies the flag!” People know me as the flag guy. If I can fly the flag, make people happy and create more school spirit, I’m all about it.

Q: Besides OU basketball, what else are you passionate about?

The other thing I’m obsessive about is sports. I’ve never played, but I’m the biggest fan. If you talk to my closest family and friends, they will tell you I’m obsessed with OU. It’s given me a chance to feel like I belong. To be a part of a student organization and the Grizz Gang, to get a degree, and now to work here and go for my Master’s, Oakland has given me so much that I just feel like what I give back to it is nothing. 

Q: Who is your favorite OU player?

I’ve kind of skipped around a little. I have to say, Jalen Hayes is my favorite player to watch because he can help Kay get that ball through and he’s got some crisp passing, but he can also get down low and help Corey. I’m super excited that we’re going to see three more years of him. That’s going to be fun.

Q: Do you think you are Oakland University’s biggest basketball fan?

It’s hard for me to answer that because as much as I like supporting Oakland and flying the flag, I don’t like all the attention on me. I’m definitely a dedicated fan, but I don’t know if I’m number one. But if I was called that, it’d be an honor. Just like I said, it’d be a fun way to give back to Oakland if they considered me that.