PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In the world of High School football, the Clairton Bears are legendary.

Since 2002, a record of 141 wins, 22 losses and repeated PIAA Championships.

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The football team has been a boost to the small town and head coach Tom Nola has been given a lot of credit for guiding the team into history.

But now comes word, when the Gateway School Board meets on Wednesday, that Nola is jumping shop and heading to the Monroeville-based district, taking with him a playoff record of 48 and 7.

“He changed boys into true men and he did it with fairness and these boys have moved on,” said Robin Payo of Clairton.

“Nola’s been here for a long time,” said Juwanna Warren of Clairton. “He’s not only a football coach, he’s a teacher at the school, so it is a big deal.”

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For Clairton, high school football is more than just Friday nights. It is a sense of community and pride. So a winning team, a winning streak under Coach Nola, gave the whole community something to celebrate.

“I think it’s good to have something like that, because it reflects back on the community,” said Thomas Urda of Clairton.

The Clairton High School football team gained national attention, in large part, because of their successful winning streak. But the people of Clairton told me, they bled football before Nola, and they will continue to do so after he leaves.

“It’s what he needs to do, let him do that,” said Greg Kelley of Clairton. “We got somebody who can take his place.”

“Right now, we just know that we’re the champs,” said Mitzi Osborne.

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Lynne Hayes-Freeland