Lonnie Kittle found Joe Valla at Penn State University in 1947 and hired him to teach and coach in the Amityville Schools. Valla coached Amityville from 1947-63 and during those 16 years compiled a record of 181-36-2. None of the teams went undefeated but six finished with just one loss. He never had a losing year.
Valla was instrumental in the resumption of the Suffolk County Tournament in 1949 and the start of the state tournament in 1963. Valla's teams won ten tournament and league championships, including six Suffolk County team titles. Valla coached 40 individual county champions and never had a team lose more than four matches in a season.
One of Valla's top wrestlers, Les Austin, won two Suffolk titles and went on to star at Syracuse University. Today Dr. Austin is the supervising physician at the state tournament. Valla was inducted into the New York State Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1975.