Tom Nola is going from the Bears den to the Gators swamp.
Nola, who coached the Clairton Bears football team to multiple championships and a 66-game winning streak, has agreed to become the new coach of the Gateway Gators.
Nola’s hiring won’t become official until a Gateway school board meeting Wednesday night, but Nola confirmed he had been offered the job and accepted Monday night. He declined further comment until the board makes his hiring official. The hiring appears to be a formality. Incidentally, Nola’s brother, Neal, is a new Gateway school board member, elected to the position last fall.
Under Nola’s direction, Clairton gained national prominence for its long winning streak, which was the longest in the country until it was snapped last season by Monessen. Nola, 60, a retired history teacher, coached Clairton for 12 seasons and had a 136-22 record with six WPIAL titles and four PIAA championships. He also had two coaching stints at Serra before coming to Clairton and had a record of 15-32 to give him an all-time mark of 151-54.
At Gateway, Nola takes over for Don Militzer, whose position was opened after only one season. Gateway will be dropping from Class AAAA to AAA for the 2013 season. At Clairton, Wayne Wade is a top candidate to take over for Nola. Wade was Nola’s defensive coordinator.
In other WPIAL coaching news, T.J. Wiley lost a job and got one on the same night. At some point Monday night, Wiley was hired as the new coach at Northgate. He had coached Northgate for two seasons before going to Deer Lakes last season.
Also Monday night, Deer Lakes’ school board voted to open Wiley’s position.
Wiley said he decided to try for the Northgate job because travel time from his job in Robinson Township to Deer Lakes was tougher than he thought.
“I get why Deer Lakes had to do what they did,” Wiley said. “I wasn’t looking for any other job until Northgate popped open. I’m not saying it was a mistake leaving Northgate. I just tried something new. But I loved Northgate and I loved those kids, and the kids at Deer Lakes deserve somebody who can get there and be there more often.”
For more on high school sports, go to Varsity Blog at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog. Mike White: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh. First Published February 17, 2014 9:48 PM