Last Updated: Tue Dec 21, 2021 - 2:18AM
The retirement of legendary Jeannette football head coach Roy Hall following this past season created a massive void in the Jayhawks’ program. On Monday, Hall’s successor was named, as Thomas Paulone, who played under Hall, was hired as the head coach.
Paulone, a 2010 Jeannette grad, becomes the latest in a long line of Jeannette alums who have guided the football program.
“It’s surreal. It’s a tradition I love and respect, and I’m happy to be coming home to fight with the kids that want to continue that tradition,” Paulone said minutes after the Jeannette school board approved his hiring.
Paulone was a member of the 2007 Jeannette team that won the WPIAL and PIAA titles under head coach Ray Reitz. He also played quarterback and linebacker as a senior when Roy Hall was in his first season at the helm of the program.
While he learned many valuable lessons from Hall dating back to his days as a player, Paulone will continue to lean on Hall for advice in the future.
“I’ve had many conversations with Roy, dating back to June,” said Paulone. “He’s helped me already tremendously, and he will continue to help and be a part of this thing moving forward.”
Following his graduation from Jeannette, Paulone matriculated to Waynesburg University, where he played running back for the Yellowjackets.
It was there that he also started his coaching career, as he was on the Waynesburg staff in the spring of 2014.
He continued to add to his coaching resume at Chartiers Valley for the past four years, serving as the quarterback coach for the Colts.
Now, he’ll be in charge of one of the most historic football programs in Pennsylvania. With more than 750 victories and 10 WPIAL titles, Jeannette has nearly unparalleled success.
But last year, Jeannette was ravaged by a bevy of transfers, which resulted in a smaller and less experienced roster. The result was a one-win season, just one year after the Jayhawks reached the PIAA Class 1A Championship game.
Paulone is in the process of assembling a staff, and he anticipates bringing in coaches who have a connection to Jeannette.
“I’m very actively meeting with people and going over philosophies,” he explained. “We want Jayhawks that want to be here and want to coach here.”
While returning the program to its winning ways is among his primary goals, he has already put an emphasis on the development of his players as students and positive contributors to their community.
“I want to use the greatest game in the world, football, to raise young men. I think if we all have that message together, I think we can continue to grow the tradition,” he said.