Clairton assistant coaches Dumm, Bukowski leaving sidelines
Not many coaches would walk away from the winningest high school football program in the nation.
But that's what Jim Dumm and Tim Bukowski will be doing at Clairton this fall.
Bukowski, who spent seven years on the Bears' staff and was the offensive coordinator last season, and Dumm, who spent two seasons as a line coach for Clairton, are giving up coaching.
Actually, Dumm is retiring from coaching completely, and Bukowski is on Friday nights for sure.
“Jim told me not too long ago that this was it for him and I wasn't surprised,” said Bukowski, a Monessen native. “His knees are giving him heck. His heart is in it, but his body is telling him it is time.”
For Bukowski, it's different. His son, Noah, is going to be a sophomore at Belle Vernon Area and may be seeing action on the Leps' defense at outside linebacker next season.
“I want to see my son play,” Bukowski said. “I talked to (Clairton coach Tom Nola) and told him what my situation was. He understands and is being really cooperative with what I'm doing.
“What I will be able to do is go to (Clairton) practices on Tuesday for offense day and Thursday for pre-game and I will go to meetings on Sunday to help game plan for the next game. I'm going to be sort of a consultant. It will be really strange not being there on Friday night. I live for Friday nights. But you never get those days back watching your own kid play.”
Clairton has won five consecutive WPIAL and four PIAA Class A titles during Bukowski's tenure there. The Bears will carry a nation's best 63-game winning streak into the start of the season.
Since 2008, the Bears have won 78 games, the most in the country in that span.
“Hey, we were 32-0 in the two seasons Jim was here,” Bukowski said of Dumm with a smile. “Don't think that doesn't mean a lot to him. I know he had an absolute blast when he was here. He's a good friend and it was nice to see how rejuvenated he was around these kids.”
Dumm's coaching career spanned more than 35 years and included stops at Charleroi, Ringgold, California Area and Elizabeth Forward.
It will mark the first time in 23 years Bukowski won't be on some sideline coaching on Friday night. His stints included Monessen, Charleroi and California University.
“It's tough for me because I don't play golf and I don't go to clubs,” he said. “All I do is coach and plan for coaching. This is going to put a strain on me, for sure. Honestly, I don't know what to expect.”
He said he got a taste of how strange it will be over the weekend when he went to Pitt for a 7-on-7 tournament. Clairton and BVA were both there competing.
“I spent more time watching BVA than Clairton,” he said. “Now that was a weird feeling. It will take some getting used to.”
Of course, he isn't walking away from the Clairton program totally. In fact, while he was being interviewed Wednesday evening, Bukowski was on the field with some of the players who were stretching and getting ready for a conditioning workout.
Some habits won't die that easily.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.