by M.J. Stafford
August 10, 2018
Hall of Fame coach
PV’s Nobles inducted into Section VI HOF
“It’s a great honor. I’m really pleased about it,” he said. “It’s an honor for me, but it’s really a testament to the players, the coaches, and everybody who was involved in Lady Panthers basketball for 38 years.”Nobles will be one of 12 members of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018, and the only one from Chautauqua County. He will be inducted in a Dec. 7 ceremony in Elma. According to his former player and assistant coach Bryelle Wallin, who nominated him, it’s a long-overdue honor.
“Quite frankly, I was aggravated he wasn’t even nominated before. I mean, he is a legend,” said Wallin, who took over the Lady Panthers for three years when Nobles stepped down after the 2014-15 season and now teaches and coaches in the Salamanca district.
Under her maiden name of Cortright, Wallin won three state titles as a player with Nobles, in the 2003, 2004 and 2005 seasons. Nobles won three more state titles, in 1991, 1992, 1995, for a total of six. He took a couple of years off in the late 1990s but coached the Lady Panthers varsity squad every other season between 1981 and 2015.
“In my eyes, there’s no one more deserving of recognition,” Wallin said. “Not only did he teach basketball, he taught me life lessons as well.”
“She spearheaded this whole Hall of Fame thing. I gotta give her all kinds of credit,” Nobles said of Wallin.
He said that when he went to Fredonia State for his teaching degree after he graduated from Pine Valley, he initially didn’t have any interest in coaching basketball.
“I never was a good player myself, I barely made the team at Pine Valley,” he said. “I always loved the game never thought I would go into coaching.”
But when Nobles interviewed at Pine Valley for his first teaching job out of college in 1981, the superintendent made it clear he would get the job if he could coach a sport or two, he said.
Nobles first coached football, but then, “One of my mentors, Jerry Skurcenski, told me I should coach the girls (basketball team). He said I couldn’t go wrong with them.”
Doug Zanghi was another mentor to Nobles. Zanghi “was great on philosophy,” he said. “A lot of my philosophy is based on his beliefs.”
Nobles said the modified and JV basketball coaches who worked with him were essential to his varsity program’s success, because they helped ensure all the Pine Valley girls basketball teams were in sync.
“We ran the same plays all the way through our entire system,” he said. “We ran the same play in modified,same play in varsity. There was continuity.”
Along with Wallin, Skurcenski and Zanghi, Nobles named Jennifer (Crowell) Cave, Kevin Swanson, Nikki Smith, Paula Troutman and Mark Chase as coaches and assistants who wre key to his team’s sustained success.
But the person who helped him who is dearest to him is his wife, Teresa.
“She’s the first assistant coach I ever had,” he said. “I got all kinds of support from her and my family over the years.”
He is still active in the district as a social studies teacher — he’s moving to junior high from the high school this coming school year. Nobles also has stayed on the Lady Panthers basketball scene since 2015 by coaching the JV and modified tams “off and on,” as he put it. In addition, he chips in these days as one of the coaches for the Pine Valley boys soccer team.
But he’ll always be known for the incredible record his varsity girls basketball teams put up. In addition to the six state championships, the Lady Panthers had the top mark in their league’s regular season 17 times under his watch, and also grabbed 12 Section VI playoff titles.
Nobles stressed that he didn’t do it alone.
“It’s not me. I get the credit,” he said. “But without great players and coaches who have helped over the years, and supported me and my ideas, none of this would ever have happened.”
“I love the man like he’s a second dad,” Wallin said.