WiHi basketball dedicates court to living legend head coach
SALISBURY, Md. – Another season of WiHi boys basketball, another season with head coach Butch Waller at the helm. But prior to this season opener with Cambridge South Dorchester was a special moment, the unveiling of Waller’s signature, forever ingrained in the hardwood at WiHi.
Despite being the all-time winningest head coach in Maryland Public School boys hoops, he remains humble, passing the accolades on to the countless others who have been with him along the way.
“It’s not me, I’ve just been the guy blowing the whistle for 53 years,” said Waller.
Coaches, players, colleagues, past and present, tell us about the man on and off the court.
“Coach is the ultimate teacher. From day one he let me know that people might out coach him but no one will outwork him,” said Stosh Schtierman, an assistant with Waller for 27 years. “For a lot of young men he served as a surrogate parent, uncle, brother, I’m sure, when he first started coaching.”
Through the 800-plus wins, five state title game appearances, and one perfect 28-0 season in 2002, Waller says one of the keys to his longevity is his ability to adapt. Most recently, he’s had to adapt to the new 30-second shot clock.
“Still am able to adjust to whatever talent I have, I’m not so rigid that ‘oh we’re going to do it this way, and you’re going to have to learn it.'” said Waller. “You got to adapt, kids are kids.”
That ability to mold his coaching style led to an undefeated regular season last year.
But that was last year.
“I made it very clear to this group that that was yesterday’s newspaper. That was last year. Don’t pay any attention to that,” Waller emphasized. “Let’s just take it one game at a time. What we want to do is get to 28 games, that’s the most you can play in the State of Maryland.”
If they do play 28 games, it would mean a trip to the Xfinity Center next spring, and a chance to play for the state title.
That’s a little ways down the road, for now it’s one game at a time.