Suffolk High School Coaching Legends
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.
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.
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.
Source: Andy Slawson, Suffolk County wrestling historian.