Known as one of the most successful coaches in the region, Coach Dale Valdery brings a career head coaching record of 273-200 to his fifth season at SUNO.
Coach Val’s coaching career began in 1977 at Xavier University of Louisiana as the first head coach of the women’s basketball team. “Coach Val” got off to a promising start, leading Xavier’s women to District 30 championships in 1981 and 1982. Along the way he earned honors as both District and Metro Coach of the Year in 1981.
He would eventually make his mark as the head coach of Xavier’s men’s team. He took over the Gold Rush in 1990 after stints as an assistant men’s coach at Southern University and A&M College, Grambling State University and Xavier. As head coach, Valdery’s accomplishments included Louisiana Small College Coach of the Year (2001), GCAC Coach of the Year (2001), three NAIA tournament appearances and the most wins in Xavier’s history. Before taking over at SUNO, Coach Val served again as an assistant coach at Southern University where the Jaguars won two Southwestern Athletic Conference Championships. He also made a stop at Hampton University where he served as assistant coach of the women’s team.
In his first year at SUNO, Coach Valdery made it a point to begin a culture of winning by focusing on his team’s attitude. Depite a three-win inaugural season, Coach Valdery focused on his players’ academic commitment as well as their collective commitment to working towards winning through hard-nosed defense and smart play.
Coach Valdery is a native of New Orleans and received his Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from Xavier University. As a basketball player at Brother Martin High School, Coach Valdery was a member of the legendary 36-0 1971 state and “national” championship team as well as another state championship team.
Player development has been the cornerstone of Coach Smith’s career. He believes in the relationships built during the recruiting process and the influence it has for a lifetime.
He implemented an academic program at Southern University at New Orleans, which boasted a 75 percent graduation rate among players for the past 7 years.
During his career at Southern University at New Orleans, Coach Smith made a NAIA National Tournament Appearance in 2011-2012. He is originally from New Orleans, and graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge. He received his master’s degree from Southern University at New Orleans in 2012, and has coached here as an assistant since 2008.
Before SUNO, Coach Smith was the assistant coach at Brookhaven College in Dallas, Texas from 2007-2008. Known nationally for it scoring, Brookhaven College won a 2008 conference co-championship with a 25-6 record. The team also was second in the nation in scoring in 2007-2008.
The total enrollment at SUNO has grown every year since Hurricane Katrina. Despite projections that the University's enrollment would only reach between 1,200 and 1,500 students in the spring of 2006, more than 2,000 students returned to campus. SUNO's current enrollment is 2,704 students.