Buddy Speaks

Coach Buddy Valinsky eyes next stop after positive experience at Norwin

Wed Jul 14, 2021 - 3:44PM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers
Buddy Valinsky posted a 19-23 record in two seasons at Norwin. (Photo by www.westernpasports.com)Buddy Valinsky posted a 19-23 record in two seasons at Norwin. (Photo by www.westernpasports.com)

Last Updated: Wed Jul 14, 2021 - 3:50PM

When Norwin hired Buddy Valinsky as the boys basketball coach following the 2018-19 season, the move created significant buzz. Valinsky had enjoyed unprecedented success at Taylor Allderdice High School, and had led the Dragons to their sixth consecutive Pittsburgh City League Championship just months earlier.

Valinsky wanted a new challenge, however, and sought an opportunity at a WPIAL school in a large classification. After being initially linked to the Pittsburgh Central Catholic opening, he ultimately was hired by Norwin in May 2019.

Just more than two years later, Valinsky resigned from his position with the Knights, and now seems poised to patrol the sidelines elsewhere, perhaps as soon as this upcoming season.

Posting a mark of 19-23 in two seasons, it could be easy to assume that Valinsky was disappointed with his stint at Norwin. However, he focused almost entirely on the positive takeaways from the experience.

“It was everything I hoped for coaching out there,” he said. “The kids were fantastic. I really enjoyed them.”

As he had sought when he left the City League, the WPIAL provided an upgrade in competition, something that Valinsky embraced.

“I thought it made me even a better coach,” he said. “We played every top school in 6A. Our schedule was really rigorous, and that was put together knowing that we really had a nice group of seniors coming back to really challenge them.”

To that point, the Knights battled Butler Area, North Hills, North Catholic, North Allegheny, Laurel Highlands, Seneca Valley, Peters Township, and Pine-Richland in the nonconference slate, while the section ledger included Fox Chapel Area, Hempfield Area, Penn-Trafford, and Pittsburgh Central Catholic.

The final record of 7-14 and a first-round playoff loss was not what Valinsky had anticipated, but the extended absence of a senior standout loomed large.

“If Ty Bilinsky was healthy his senior year, that record gets flipped. He really was the difference maker,” he noted. “We still were close in a lot of games.”

During his tenure, Valinsky also learned valuable lessons about building a program, from the youth level to the varsity.

“Coming from the city, I didn’t really oversee all the programs like I did at Norwin,” he said. “Truthfully, it was a great learning experience. I think it’ll help me – that part of management of a total program.”

As for why Valinsky elected to move on from Norwin, his explanation was brief.

“Sometimes two years is not a short time,” he said. “I think people know we had a lot of kids leave – transferred after eighth grade.”

And while Valinsky has retired from his teaching job at Allderdice, he does not expect to call it quits anytime soon as a basketball coach.

“I still have the desire, and I still have a lot of fire in me, and I’d like to win a section title and go to the WPIAL finals,” he said.

As for where his next stop may be, Valinsky, who still lives in the Allderdice district, noted that he would aim for another large school, likely in 6A or 5A. Geographically, he anticipates remaining within an estimated 30-minute proximity.

“I don’t know what jobs are available as of yet. I’m pretty selective,” he revealed.