Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Adjustment Period Former Clairton Coach Nola and Gateway Are Adapting to One Another

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Adjustment Period Former Clairton Coach Nola and Gateway Are Adapting to One Another

Article excerpt

Tom Nola still is adjusting to the change.

After more than a decade coaching Clairton and building the Mon Valley school into a perennial Class A football powerhouse, Nola now finds himself in Monroeville and preparing for his first season at the helm of Gateway.

"It's a little different and a little strange for me right now," Nola said. "Everything has gone pretty well so far. Everyone has accepted me. It was slow in the beginning, but our players have come around to the new coaching style and philosophy.

"Everyone seems to be catching on and the kids are progressing nicely."

At Clairton, Nola coached for 12 seasons and produced a 136-22 record while leading the Bears to six WPIAL championships and four PIAA titles. Under his direction, Clairton gained national attention last fall with one of the country's longest winning streaks in high school football. The Bears won a state record 66 consecutive games from 2009 through 2013 before losing to Monessen in Week 4 last season.

"That's just one thing that made him so inviting as a coach," Gateway athletic director Randy Rovesti said. "With his past success, we hope it works out with the same magnitude at Gateway."

Nola, 60, is a McKeesport Area graduate. He also coached at Serra Catholic before he took over at Clairton and enters this season with a 151-54 career coaching record.

After last season, there was a lot of speculation that Nola, a retired history teacher, would retire from coaching. He, however, was hired by Gateway in February.

"It's a new challenge on the horizon," Nola said. "I just look at it as a new challenge.

"Coaching football, no matter where, is always the same. Now I just have a few more bodies to take care of. It's a bigger school now."

Nola replaces Donnie Militzer, whose position was opened by the school district after only one season. Under Militzer, the Gators qualified for the WPIAL playoffs and finished 8-3 after losing to Central Catholic during the Class AAAA quarterfinals. …

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