Wally Huckno

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Jamestown High School Football Coach


While many high school coaches receive varsity coaching positions early in their careers, some must develop and hone their skills during extended periods of apprenticeship before varsity opportunity knocks. Wally Huckno arrived in Jamestown in 1962, and spent 20 years paying his dues as an assistant coach (1963-1971) and coach (1972-1975) at Lincoln Junior High School, and as an assistant coach at Jamestown High (1976-1982). In 1983, he took over the varsity at Jamestown and for the next 21 years, the Red Raiders’ opponents paid.

Huckno’s stint at Lincoln, which included three Chadakoin Valley Championships, groomed the veteran assistant for immediate success at the varsity high school level. The Red Raiders were 8-1 his first season and Wally won Western New York Large School and Western New York Football Coaches Coach of the Year honors as a result. He garnered both awards again in 1986, when his squad turned in the first of four undefeated seasons during his tenure. Huckno’s 1994, 1995, and 2000 teams were unbeaten New York State champions in their class, and Wally was honored each of those seasons as New York State Sportswriters’ Association Coach of the Year. When Huckno retired following the 2003 campaign, he was able to look back at a resume tarnished by only two losing seasons in 21 years at the helm, and highlighted by a run of 10 consecutive playoff appearances and accolades as the Coach of the Decade for 1990-2000 by the prestigious Western New York High School Sports publication. Wally retired as the winningest coach in Jamestown gridiron history with a sparkling record of 159-47-1.

Huckno’s no-nonsense approach produced not only great teams, but many individual stars. Wally coached 27 All-Western New York selections, including Shawn Bowman (1986-1988), and Buffalo News Players of the Year David Hinson (1994) and Aaron Leeper (2000). An English teacher for his first 32 years in Jamestown, Huckno is gratified that for many of his standout players, football opened the door of opportunity represented by a college education.

For Huckno, the hectic, frantic pace of game days against rivals such as Lancaster, Orchard Park, and North Tonawanda has been replaced by the leisurely pace of retirement. Tonight’s induction ceremony will be a chance to feel the rush once again, as Wally joins fellow football coaching legends in the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.