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Pine-Richland football coach retires

| Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, 8:57 p.m.
Pine Creek
File photo Louis Raggiunti Pine-Richland's Clair Altemus addresses his team after a win that sent the Rams to the playoffs two seasons ago.

For 46 years the game of football has been synonymous with the identity of Clair Altemus.

Eight years as a player, 38 as a coach — 46 years in all.

“That is a long time to do any one thing,” Altemus said. “Forty-six years of my career were tied up with football.”

Altemus was the coach at Pine-Richland who took over a dismal program 16 years ago and revamped it to the point the Rams made trips to the WPIAL championship game in 2002 and '03. Altemus led the 2003 team to the PIAA finals, and a memorable game against Manheim Central in the state finals yielded a silver medal for the Rams.

“I left with no regrets,” he said. “This is an awesome school, community, and the kids I coached are the type of kids you hope your daughter brings home.

“The people I have met here are fantastic.”

Altemus, who has two daughters of his own, wants to focus on being a grandfather and traveling as both his daughters live out of state.

Many fans associate Altemus with the 2003 PIAA finals team, but the coach said his favorite squad was the one that got the run of success started.

“My favorite season was 1999,” Altemus said. “I had a group of sophomores I told that if they put the time and effort in, by the time they were seniors they would win a conference title and make the playoffs.”

That team used to pack Santacroce Field and did so by playing excellent football.

“Winning football was so new to the community at that time,” Altemus said. “Those players used to find my house, and we would sit out on the porch and just talk football. That team started an eight- or nine-year run of playoffs.”

During his tenure, Altemus and his teams won six section crowns, a WPIAL runner-up, WPIAL title and a PIAA runner-up.

Altemus also served as the athletic director for Pine-Richland but retired from that post last year.

Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark@tribweb.com.

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