Following an 18-3 season that was the best in program history by any measure, Putnam Valley boys basketball coach Ed Wallach was told he will not return.
Wallach, in his second season with the Tigers, coached the team to its first two playoff victories and its first County Center appearance in its 10 years of existence. Putnam Valley’s previous high-win total was seven. Wallach’s team hit that mark in 2011-12, his first season, and had surpassed it by Jan. 5 of this year.
“We went from 7-11 to 18-3, but I guess I didn’t improve the team,” Wallach said.
Wallach said he learned of his firing from Putnam Valley’s first-year athletic director Marty Nemecek on Friday after being given an evaluation. Wallach was surprised by the decision.
“His biggest complaint was that I didn’t do anything to teach the kids or improve them,” Wallach said. “We went 18-3 and had the first winning season in our history. I told him, ‘You have to be kidding me. You’re not even qualified to evaluate me.’”
Wallach — who also coached the varsity boys at Lakeland for 24 years, at Rye Country Day for five and Keio for four, and the varsity girls at Putnam Valley for one — is also a resident of the town. He coached the varsity softball team the last three years, but that ended abruptly on Friday as well. (The softball season begins official on Monday.)
“I don’t know how much I should’ve done,” Wallach said. “He thought I should’ve won the other two games I lost to Peekskill by three points and Pawling by three points.”
I’ll have more on this story as it develops.
“I guess I’m not competent,” said Wallach, whose teams made eight trips to the County Center. “I was capable for 37 years. I don’t know how all of a sudden I wasn’t capable.”
Putnam Valley’s success this season came almost entirely with underclassmen. The Tigers started one senior — forward Andres Soto — and did not have another senior in its eight-man rotation. Juniors Jelani Bell-Isaac and Zach Coleman were named all-section and sophomore Ryan Basso led the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game.