Longtime coach Sonny Thomas could be on brink of final season on sideline

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Monday, July 27, 2020 | 4:32 PM


Could it be one last year in the sun for Sonny Thomas? Maybe so.

The longtime local football coach is on board for at least one more season with his son, Marko Thomas, the fourth-year coach at Connellsville.

If the elder Thomas decides to retire as his son is hinting, Sonny Thomas will have coached 53 years. The 77-year-old has been bouncing around WPIAL coaching stops since 1966.

“He is thinking this might be the last one,” said Marko Thomas, who played for his father at Penn-Trafford and at Geneva. “We’ll see what my mom has to say about it. He has taught me so much on and off the field. I think he could coach until he’s 100.”

Sonny Thomas, a Greensburg resident, reached his 50th year on the sidelines in 2017.

A retired science teacher who worked at Woodland Hills for 36-plus years, Sonny Thomas coached with Fran Rogel at North Braddock Scott, assisted George Novak at Woodland Hills, guided numerous Penn-Trafford players (he spent 22 years coaching in Harrison City) and also was an assistant at Gateway, Hempfield, Yough and Southmoreland.

Once a standout running back at North Braddock Scott and then Bucknell and Cal (Pa.), Thomas began coaching the North Braddock Junior High team at age 22. He followed in his dad’s footsteps and stuck with coaching.

The late Charles “Yakey” Thomas coached in the North Braddock Midget program.

Thomas has crossed paths with dozens of coaches and hundreds of players who sing his praises.

“Sonny is one of the classiest people I know,” said Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane, who worked with Thomas at Gateway and Penn-Trafford. “He is a great teacher who never gets too high or too low. He was instrumental in getting our program rolling back in 2011. I have a ton of respect for him on and off the field.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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