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Clearfield Head Coach Tim Janocko is hanging up his sweater.

Tagged under: Coaches Corner, District 9, News

| November 27, 2022


Tim Janocko has been the Head Football coach at Clearfield since 1985. Next season the Bison will have a new head coach on the sidelines. Also the AD, Tim has told the Clearfield district he is retiring this year.

Tim has had an illustrious career, most recently garnering his 300th win with the Bison. The players are many that have been coached by Janocko with likely 100s getting to college thanks to his leadership. I had a brief conversation with Coach Janocko about his decision (that’s followed by a story from a couple years ago with some photos, I didn’t think we could improve on that article):

PM: “Reason for retiring?”

Janocko: “I really want to spend more time with my family.  I’m involved in my church.  I want to do more stuff there.  My wife and I always wanted to travel and we never had the time.  Our program is in really good shape.  I’m happy where it’s at.  We have a lot of good kids returning next year.  So, I think it’s just a good time right now.  I also want to get more involved with following my son and his career.  I have two grandchildren and have two more on the way next year.  Grandchildren are the greatest I got to tell you.  I love them.  I want to spend more time with them.”

PM: “How has coaching changed for you?”

Janocko: “Well, you have to give 100%.  If I continue to do that, I’m not going to be around for my family and church.  Coaching is 24/7 now and when I started you weren’t allowed to do it 24/7.  But then it morphed into being 24/7.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind that.  I still love coaching, it’s not that.  It’s just that everybody else around you has to pay.  You feel like you’re missing out on things, like when I want to be around family or when I want to be in Chicago or I want to be in different places, and I can’t.”

List of coaching accomplishments:

Two-time president of the Central Pennsylvania Football Coaches Association.
Coached in the Lezzer Lumber Classic six times
Assistant coach for Pennsylvania in the 2001 Big 33 Game.
Head coach in the 2006 PSFCA East-West All-Star Game
head coach in the Big 33 Game in 2009.
Inducted into the Central PA Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2013.
Has led Clearfield to 18 District 9 championships, 21 playoff appearances and appeared the Western PA Quarterfinals four times.

PM: “Do you have any favorite games or a favorite year during the time you coached?” 

Janocko: “I really hesitate to say that because there’s so many kids that have touched my life in such a positive way.  There’s been so many teams and each team had its own personality.  I’d hate to say this one or that one because we’ve been blessed with so many really good teams.  I’ve had 8 undefeated teams, but there were teams that struggled to be above .500 that were just as meaningful to me because they worked their tails off.  The one thing that we instilled in Clearfield was toughness.  Some of them were already behind the 8-ball in life.  So, we created toughness, resiliency.  I think that’s the one thing that I’m really happy with what we’ve done here for a long time.  That kids can bounce back and fight adversity.  That carries on in your life.  That’s what high school football teaches kids.  That’s why I think it’s the greatest game ever invented.”

PM: “When did you start as a head coach in Clearfield?”

Janocko: “1985 was my first year.  We got married in May and I was named the head coach in July.  That’s all my wife and I know.”

PM: “Any other thoughts or comments?”

Janocko: “I’d like to thank everyone like you guys (PFN) that promote high school football.  You do such a great service.  I do really believe in high school football.  It’s extremely, extremely important for our society and to our country.  I appreciate you guys very much.  And I appreciate the officials, the referees and everybody that’s involved in the game.”

A few years ago I sat down with Tim Janocko, head coach of the Clearfield Bison, before their season opener with DuBois.  We talked about a variety of subjects and I came away very impressed with not only his answers, but his sincerity, his passion for the game, and how he cares for the kids. I don’t think we could add anymore to what he had to offer. 

Mr. Janocko graduated from Moshannon Valley and attended Penn State University where he played football for Joe Paterno.  It was while he was at Penn State that he decided he wanted to “continue on coaching football.”

Coach Janocko has been coaching at Clearfield since 1981.  He was an assistant to John Wiley for 4 years, before taking over the program in 1985.  The 2019 season marks his 35th year at the helm.  He has compiled a 276-111-3 (finishes with a record of 307-115-3 in 38 years of being Clearfield’s head coach) record which includes the victory over DuBois to begin the current 2019 campaign.   He has had only four losing seasons and is currently riding a streak of 23 consecutive years with a winning record (finished his career with 27 straight winning seasons).

Janocko married his wife, Trina, in 1985 and they have two children, Andrew and Annie.  Trina is starting her 40th year in the business office at Clearfield Area School District.  Andrew played football for his dad and then went to Pitt where he lettered three years.  He is beginning his eighth year as a coach in the NFL.  The past six with the Minnesota Vikings. (now with the Chicago Bears)  Annie, who played basketball and was a cheerleader in high school, is now a special needs teacher at Clearfield Elementary.

PM: “As far as your teams go, how do you measure success?”

Janocko: “Obviously we want to win more than we lose.  We’re in this to win.  We want to have success in everything we do, but it’s also how they (the kids) conduct themselves off the field that matters.  Are they doing the right thing in school?  Are they doing the right thing outside of school?  How do they treat other people?  We try to model that and talk about it all the time.”

PM: “What is the toughest thing about coaching in your opinion?”

Janocko: “I think one of the hardest things is that last game, when you know you’re going to say good-bye to kids that you spent 3 or 4 years with and working so hard to be successful.  That last game is always so hard.”

PM: “Is it tougher to coach today than when you started?”

Janocko: “I don’t think it’s tougher, it’s different.  There is a different set of circumstances you have to deal with.  Kids still want somebody that cares about them.  Kids want to work hard.  They need to be taught and need to feel part of the team.  That hasn’t changed.”

PM: “How were you able to build a winning tradition at Clearfield?”

Janocko: “Lot of hard work.  Blessed with a lot of great kids and great coaches down through the years.  Just been able to surround myself with a lot of good people.  That’s the key, that same belief system and same set of values.”

Janocko has won many awards in his illustrius career. 

PM: “What is the most important concept you try to teach the players?

Janocko: “Football’s not hard, life’s hard.”  Coach supported that concept by saying, “When you got to worry about paying the bills, making sure your family has something to eat, somebody’s sick or somebody has cancer, that’s hard.  Football is not hard.”  Mr. Janocko went on to say that today’s society preaches taking the easy way out and promotes everyone getting a trophy, implying that those ideas do not prepare kids for life.

PM: “Is coaching today a 365 day a year job?”

Janocko: “It’s more year around than it’s ever been, but there is still some down time.”  He added that he doesn’t believe high school kids should devote themselves to one sport all year long.  “I’m a firm believer kids should play other sports.”

PM: “What motivates you to continue coaching?”

Janocko: “The kids.”  There was no thinking about what he wanted to say or hesitation in his answer.  “I get excited about practice, I like to plan practice, and I like to watch them (the kids) develop as football players.”


PM: “What do you want your legacy to be?”

Janocko: “The kids knew we cared about them.  Everybody that came through our program mattered.  The kids that weren’t as talented mattered just as much as the kids who were talented.”

PM: “If there was one coach, past or present, you could sit down with and pick his brain, who would it be?

Janocko: “I don’t know.  I’ve been around so many great coaches.  I’ve had talks with Joe Paterno and Norv Turner.  I’ve watched the Vikings practice under Mike Zimmer.  Tom Landry was an offensive guru.  Bill Walsh with the west coast offense.  So, I don’t know if I could single one out.”

Tim with Frank Beamer, Joe Hamilton, George Shue, Gary Cathell, Herm Edwards and John Hayes

PM: “Here’s a few fun questions.  What do you like to do with your free time?”

Janocko: “Hunt and fish.”

PM: “What does your favorite meal consist of?

Janocko: “I like grilled salmon.  I like venison too.”

PM: “Favorite movie?”

Janocko: “Jeremiah Johnson.”

PM: “Favorite dessert?”

Janocko: “Ice cream.”

PM: “If you could go back in time, who would you like to meet?”

Janocko: “Jesus.”

PM: “What’s one thing people may not know about you?”

Janocko: “I like to read a lot.”

It was a real pleasure to have this interview with Tim Janocko.  He graciously set aside some time for me before the game and made me feel like I wasn’t a bother.  I thanked him and said I thought things went well being that I was a rookie doing this.  He encouraged me by saying he thought I did a great job.  Later, when I saw him on the field during warm-ups, I remembered I had two more questions.  So, I ambled onto the field to see if he would answer them.

PM: “Is there a reason you were a shirt and tie?”

Janocko: “Joe Paterno.”

PM: “Is there a story behind why you were the sweater vest?”

Janocko: “I get cold.”

Coach Janocko may get cold as the game wears on each Friday night in the fall, but as the years have worn on, the community of Clearfield has really warmed up to him as he continues to show compassion and rack up the winning seasons.  He was doing what we all would loved to do, making a difference.  In Coach Tim Janocko’s case it was on and off the field.     

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