November 2, 2015
Skagit Valley tabs ex-Slam star Hafford as assistant coach
Former Bellingham Slam guard Paul Hafford is joining the collegiate coaching ranks with the announcement that he is joining the Skagit Valley College men’s basketball coaching staff for the 2015-16 season.
Hafford will serve as an assistant under Skagit Valley head coach Brock Veltri, who is heading into his third season leading the Cardinals’ men’s program. Hafford replaces a familiar name in Tyler Amaya, who went on to coach the Slam and is now a graduate assistant at Western Washington.
“I am excited to add such a knowledgeable coach as Paul to the staff,” said Coach Veltri. “His career speaks for itself. Being a successful shooting guard for as long as Paul was, you have to understand how to play the game and play it the right way. Paul will be a great resource for our team.”
Hafford takes a seat on the bench after wrapping up an impressive playing career which spanned the globe. He competed professionally in Norway, Romania, China and most recently Australia, but he is best known by local hoop fans for his standout play in the prep ranks at Lynden Christian and later with the Bellingham Slam in the International Basketball League.
With the Slam, Hafford played five seasons from 2008 to 2012 and helped the team win two of its four IBL titles. Averaging 18 points per game during his career in Bellingham, Hafford played a pivotal role in helping the Slam win their first IBL title over the Elkhart Express in 2008, when he scored 30 points in the championship game and earned co-Most Valuable Player honors.
In 2013, he joined the Vancouver Volcanoes for one final season in the IBL, where – as luck would have it – he found himself competing against the Slam in the championship game. Thanks to a missed shot at the buzzer by Hafford, the Slam won their second of three straight IBL titles that year.
Hafford ranks third on the IBL’s all-time scoring list with 2,520 points. That list is topped by the Slam’s Jacob Stevenson who tallied 2,934 points.
In high school, Hafford starred at Lynden Christian and helped the Lyncs to second and third place finishes at the 2-A state tournament in 2001 and 2002, respectively. Hafford still holds the record for most points scored in a 2-A tournament, with 118 in 2002.
Skagit Valley opens their season on November 11 with an exhibition game against the Seattle Mountaineers. Regular season play for the Cardinals begins with their annual Turkey Tourney on November 27.