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Nola excited to get new journey started

| Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 5:50 p.m.
Michael Love | The Times Express
New Gateway varsity head football coach Tom Nola addresses team members at Gateway High School on Feb. 24, 2014.

For the second time in about nine months, Gateway football players held a meet-and-greet with a new head coach.

About three dozen players were introduced Monday afternoon to Tom Nola, the former Clairton coach hired last week to take over the Gators football program.

The position was vacant since late November when it was announced that Donnie Milizer would not be retained after one season.

“I am honored to meet everyone and honored with the opportunity Gateway gave me,” Nola said.

“Gateway has a good tradition, and I come from a good tradition. We have some big kids and some good skill kids to work with. I know Gateway lost some good players to graduation, and its a good thing for the team and for me that there will be a lot of competition for jobs.”

Nola led Clairton to a 141-22 record in 12 seasons, which included six WPIAL and four PIAA championships in Class A. His playoff record was 48-7.

Clairton won a nation's best 66 games from 2009-13, a streak that ended last fall against Monessen.

Nola challenged his new players to work hard in the weight room, keep on top of academics and be disciplined with attendance in school and during offseason workouts.'

“I can't wait for Greensburg-Salem, be we have a lot of work to do before we get there,” Nola said.

Gateway is in Class AAA for the first time since they added a Quad-A level more than three decades ago.

The Gators are in the Greater Allegheny Conference and will open against the Golden Lions on Aug. 29 at Antimarino Stadium.

Junior offensive lineman Dom Scassera, who will play for his third head coach in as many seasons, said he's excited to get started under the new system Nola will put in place.

“He seems like a winner and a straight-shooter,” Scassera said.

“He's here for business. We're looking forward to working with a coach who hopefully will bring some success to us and to the program. We need to work as a team to be successful.”

Nola said he's excited to get to know the players better and continue offseason workouts.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825, at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

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