Wally Bachman has been a Jericho Jayhawk since he was a teenager, playing on the varsity boys basketball from a young age. Once a Jayhawk, always a Jayhawk is not just a saying, though.
The legend himself returned to Jericho in 1992 to coach the basketball team. Since then, he’s won 447 games, with only one active coach having more wins than he does.
While Bachman is retired from teaching, he continues to coach the Jayhawks, proving to be the old-school coach the team needs in order to succeed.
“He is one of the best coaches I have ever been around,” Jericho Athletic Director John Mankowich said.
The Tribune spoke with Bachman, a soft-spoken and charismatic man, who lives for basketball.
Q: How did you get started coaching at Jericho?
A: My journey started at Valley Stream North High School in 1979, coaching the varsity basketball team until 1992. In 1991 or so, a job opened up at Jericho High School. I convinced my principal to let me go there. I was a teacher at Valley Stream North High School for 37 years. I taught social studies and I was a varsity football, basketball and baseball coach there. At one time, I was even the athletic director. I was able to convince my principal to let me coach my son, and that’s the only reason why I left Valley Stream North.
I live in Jericho, grew up in Jericho and I played at Jericho High School back in my day. Tuesdays and Fridays, I was worrying about where my son was playing basketball. I thought about that for a while, so I applied for the Jericho job. I’ve been at Jericho since 1992 up until now. I never returned to Valley Stream North as their basketball coach. I’ve been retired as a teacher for six years, but I still coach the Jericho program. I’m the Nassau County Section VIII coordinator for basketball coaches. I do that also. That’s how I got to Jericho. That’s the journey.
Q: What has stood out to you throughout the years?
A: I’ve had a good run. I’ve been at Jericho for 27 years. During that 27-year period of time, we’ve developed a great program here that’s worked its way up to the high school. In Jericho, I’ve won six Nassau County titles, a Long Island championship and eight conference titles. It’s been a great run at Jericho to accomplish all of that. I’ve been fortunate to be inducted into a couple of hall of fames. In 2018, I was inducted into the Nassau County High School Athletic Hall of Fame, and I’ve been inducted into the New York Coaches Hall of Fame and the Jericho High School Hall of Fame. I’ve been fortunate, as an old man, to be inducted into three hall of fames.