Buddy Valinsky aims to make Norwin boys basketball ‘a proven program’

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Monday, July 15, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Buddy Valinsky bought a new hybrid SUV to abate his trek from Squirrel Hill to North Huntingdon.

The new Norwin boys basketball coach has been driving back and forth quite a bit this summer and will continue to do so in the coming months.

His motor is running like new, too.

“I’m excited to be here, and I want to make sure this program keeps winning,” said Valinsky, 59, who led Allderdice to the last six City League titles. “I can see we have kids here who play with heart. We need to get in some more workouts and we haven’t had tryouts yet, but the kids are committed to winning.”

Valinsky was hired in May.

While he will lose a half-dozen players to football soon and has not quite had a full group this summer, Valinsky is adjusting to his new settings and matching faces to names. While he reads the room, he is learning just as his players are.

Norwin played in shootouts at New Castle, Penn Hills and Elizabeth Forward — winning the third one — before playing two games in Friday’s Westmoreland County Coaches Association Shootout at Hempfield.

The Knights went 2-0 at the WCCA event, including a win over Greensburg Salem.

“We have to work on shooting the ball better,” Valinsky said. “We need to be better shooters. I like to play fast and utilize guards.”

That was his style at Allderdice, his alma mater, where he went 226-97 in 12 seasons. He once was a spirited backcourt player for the Dragons.

At Norwin, he replaces 17-year veteran coach Lynn Washowich, who had a record of 223-173, made the WPIAL playoffs 12 times and won two section titles, before he resigned.

“The big thing with me is, you have to play hard all the time,” Valinsky said. “If you don’t play hard, you don’t play for me.”

Valinsky is well respected among his peers. He has gone against a number of WPIAL coaches, especially during PIAA playoff time.

“He’s been extremely successful, a City League legend to be honest,” Hempfield coach Bill Swan said. “He is a really personable and great guy. Norwin is very, very lucky to have gotten him.”

Valinsky said he needed a change, a better challenge perhaps, so he opted to coach in the WPIAL — in its largest classification (6A), where Allderdice also plays.

In the brief time he has been with Norwin, he has seen improvements, although the Knights face high expectations when compared to what Valinsky produced at his former program.

“If I’m at Allderdice and we (lose games in the summer), it wouldn’t bother me,” he said. “Because it’s a proven program. We need to make Norwin a proven program.”

Norwin has missed the WPIAL playoffs in three straight seasons.

One key emphasis for Valinsky is the youth program, which he said is growing in numbers.

“Our eighth graders are a great group of kids,” he said. “It’s all about getting that feeder program in place.”

Shane Phillips and John Stone will be Valinsky’s assistants. Phillips is the director of player development and player personnel for the Wildcats Select AAU program while Stone is a former Central Catholic assistant.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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