Woodland Hills’ Only Football Coach and AD George Novak Retires

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 | 5:42 PM

The only football coach and athletic director that Woodland Hills High School has ever known submitted his resignation papers Wednesday.

George Novak, Pennsylvania’s 14th all-time winningest high school football coach, is stepping down after an illustrious 30-year career.

Novak, 66, has won six WPIAL Championships while guiding the Wolverines to 306 wins along the way, the third best mark in WPIAL history.

Only former Blackhawk coach Joe Hamilton and current Upper St. Clair coach Jim Render have won more games.

“I’ve been blessed,” Novak told MSA Sports on This Week in the WPIAL after his 300th win in September. “I’ve had some great people to work with at Steel Valley and Woodland Hills.”

But beyond wins, Novak has been a tremendous example in the Woodland Hills community, as stories of his mentorship run deep amongst those he has impacted. Most notably, Novak has been known to personally drive players to and from practices to ensure that they safely arrive at the High School, Wolvarena or home.

“I’m just as proud as the guys who were backups that went on to college, did well in school, graduated, have jobs and families and still come back to see us.”

Under his leadership, Woodland Hills has had eleven graduates play in the NFL. Those players were Jason Taylor, Steve Breaston, Rob Gronkowski, Quinton Jefferson, Rontez Miles, Darrin Walls, Ryan Mundy, Terrence Johnson, Lousaka Polite, Shawntae Spencer and Chris Edmonds.

Adam Walker, who played under Novak at Steel Valley, won a Super Bowl with the 49ers. Novak coached the Ironmen from 1977-1986 before accepting the positions at the newly formed Woodland Hills High School. 

“We’ve put over 100 kids into Division 1 and even more into D-2 and D-3,” Novak said. “To feel that we were a part of that is nice.”

Novak has also seen numerous former players and assistants move on to become successful WPIAL head coaches, including Thomas Jefferson coach and athletic director Bill Cherpak, who has won 235 games himself and look for his sixth district title Friday at Heinz Field.

A former assistant, Jim Tomsula, was the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers as well.

This season, Woodland Hills finished 9-3 and lost to West Allegheny in the WPIAL 5A Semifinals.

“I love Woodland Hills,” Novak said. “It’s been my life for 30 years and I want to see it be successful.”


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