Valley Torah Hires Long Time Basketball Coach

Valley Village— Valley Torah High School has hired Eli Essa, a longtime local basketball coach, to their basketball staff. 

Coach Essa was the assistant boys basketball coach at North Hollywood High School for nine years during the 1980s and 1990s, and was more recently an assistant coach at Burbank High School, but he is most known as a longtime coach at Bell Jeff High School (now St. John Paul II STEM Academy at Bellarmine Jefferson). “We are excited to add Coach Essa to our staff,” added Lior Schwartzberg, the Valley Torah Athletic Director and Head Basketball coach, “Coach Essa brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our staff, he had many other opportunities to coach elsewhere, so we are more than lucky to have him on board here.” Regardless of the recent success the Wolfpack basketball program has enjoyed, totaling over a hundred wins in just four years, Valley Torah Basketball will receive a boost with the new addition, who was one of the first members of the Bellarmine Jefferson Hall of Fame.


We are excited to add Coach Essa to our staff… Coach Essa brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our staff, he had many other opportunities to coach elsewhere, so we are more than lucky to have him on board here.

Coach Lior Schwartzberg, Valley Torah Athletic Director and Head Coach of Wolfpack Basketball

The addition to the basketball staff comes with the departure of long-time assistant coach, and current West Coast Elite UAA coach, Alex Lieu. “Coach Alex was a cornerstone of our program for four years, and he will not be easily replaced. We would have not had success here the last few years without Coach Alex,” stated Coach Lior Schwartzberg. Coach Alex Lieu will now be coaching at the collegiate level. “Coach Alex deserves the opportunity to coach at the highest level of collegiate and professional basketball. He will be a head coach one day. He has one of the best basketball minds in the nation and deserves all his blessings,” added Lior Schwartzberg, “Although we have had five players with collegiate scholarship offers in the last few years, in part to Coach Alex’s training, his scouting abilities, and his basketball acumen, I believe Coach Essa will provide mentorship to both the players and the coaches.” 

Come November, Valley Torah will begin their journey towards a second consecutive 20-win regular season, and their third in four years. Valley Torah has enjoyed only two 20-win CIF regular seasons in school history, both in the last three years, and both under the tutelage of Coach Lior Schwartzberg. With such a young team this year, Coach Eli Essa will play a tremendous role in honing the team towards success on and off the court, given his extensive basketball background and coaching expertise. Let’s go WOLFPACK!

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