NORTHERN CAMBRIA —
Paul Taranto announced Thursday he will step down as Northern Cambria High School’s football coach after six seasons.
Taranto, a former Colts standout player, had a contract through the 2013 season.
He opted not to pursue a new contract, citing his desire to spend more time with his family.
Taranto could not be reached for comment, though the school made his farewell email public via social media on Thursday.
“It has been more than a pleasure to work with our great student-athletes here at NC,” Taranto said in the email posted on Facebook and Twitter. “My wonderful wife and I are at a point in our lives where it is important to focus on us and our future family.”
“Thank you for the opportunity to help create some quality young men through our football program. I hope and pray that I can again sometime work with our athletes. Thank you.”
Taranto had a 29-32 record in six seasons with the Colts.
His 2013 team went 5-5, but the Colts won three of their final four games and four of the final six games.
“Paul will be extremely hard to replace,” Northern Cambria Athletic Director Jim Yeager said Thursday. “I felt he was as good as they come in coaching, not just the coaching but working with the kids. He was just super.”
Yeager said the school will advertise the position internally before opening the head coaching job to the public.
“The first thing we will do is advertise internally to find out if we have any faculty members interested,” Yeager said. “At this point and time I don’t know of anybody internally who is interested.”
The Colts advanced to the District 6 Class A playoffs in three of Taranto’s six seasons. In the postseason, Northern Cambria lost to Laurel Valley in 2008; beat Glendale and then fell to Penns Manor in 2011; and lost to Bishop McCort in 2012.
Taranto coached Tribune-Democrat Defensive Player of the Year Alex Atkins in 2012.
His squads split a pair of Coal Bowl games when the border rivalry with Cambria Heights was renewed in 2012 (a 29-20 win) and 2013 (a 17-13 loss).
“He was as good a guy as you’re going to find,” Yeager said. “The best thing he did was the way he worked with the kids. The kids really related to him and they liked him a lot. To me that was even more valuable to the coaching skills he brought. He cared about each kid.”
Yeager said that while Taranto’s announcement on Thursday was a bit of a surprise, the separation was amicable.
“The way he explained it to me, he enjoyed the coaching part of it. But due to family commitments he felt it was time to step down,” Yeager said. “There were no hard feelings. He’s leaving on very good terms. He said he’d be more than willing to help out the next coach.”