Brookline Knights Football Association
The Knight's History (1974 - .... )

Brookline Knights

Past Presidents  
Hall Of Champions  
Seasons In Review  
Coach Joe Nicholas  
Support The Knights  
The Concession Stand  
Tradition & Excellence  
Knights Photo Gallery  
The Brookline Bears  
Before The Knights  
Brookline History  
SSYFL Website  


Congratulations to the Nicholas Family!
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - March 2, 2014

Click Here for information on the 2013 Knights season,
including game schedule, results, photos and more.

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October 18, 2008 - Knights game at
McGibbeny Field in Brookline Park
Brookline Knights website designed and maintained by Clint Burton. Thanks to everyone else who helps out!

The Knights News * Seasons In Review

2013 <> 2012 <> 2011 <> 2010 <> 2009 <> 2008
2007 <> 2006 <> 2005 <> 2000 <> 1998
including Rosters, Photos, Game Results and more.

Tradition and Excellence

The Brookline Knights Football program has a long-standing tradition of gridiron excellence. This legacy dates back to their inception in 1974, a year when another Pittsburgh football team, the Steelers, began their first reign as Super Bowl Champions. Although the Knights may not be as well known as the men in Black and Gold, these Brookline kids have risen to the top of the local youth football scene time and time again over the past forty years.

The Knights entered the 2013 season as an eighth-year member of the South Suburban Youth Football League hoping to carry on that winning tradition. Prior to joining the SSYFL, Brookline's list of past champions included: Midgets (2000, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1990), Mitey-Mites (1998, 1978), Termites (1996, 1990, 1979) and Twerps (2004, 2001, 1980).

1979 Termites - Brookline's
First Undefeated Champions.
The Brookline Knights 1979 WPMFL Termite champions went 9-0. They were Brookline's first undefeated team.

Since joining the SSYFL, the 2006 9-Under team became the Knights first Super Bowl winner, and the 2006 8-Under team captured a Divisional championship. The 2007 10-Under team repeated as SSYFL Super Bowl champions, then returned in 2009 and 2010 to capture and successfully defend the 13-Under crown. The 2011 11-Under team added their nameplate to the official bronze trophy, followed a year later by the 2012 10-Under team. Most recently, the 2013 11-Under and 2013 13-Under teams became the Brookline Knights seventh and eighth Super Bowl champions.

The 2000 Brookline Knights Midget
team celebrates after a semi-final
victory. These Knights went on to
capture the WPSYFL championship.
The 13-Under Midget team celebrates after a playoff win in 2000. These Knights went on to win the WPSYFL title.

The Brookline Knights have won eight Super Bowl championships since joining the SSYFL in 2006.

2007 Super Bowl Champions
The 10-year old Brookline Knights repeated as Super Bowl champions in 2007. These Mighty Knights
returned to win the title again in 2009 and 2010, making them four-time SSYFL champions.

In addition to the girdiron warriors, there's also the generations of talented cheerleaders. Year after year, these girls have kept the fans engaged with an assortment of sideline cheers, zany antics and fabulous halftime routines. Their spirit and dedication add color and charm to the Brookline Knights gameday festivities.

The 2009 13U Knights Cheerleaders.

When the fall colors bloom, the men in Black and Gold capture the hearts and minds of the Steeler Nation. But, here in our little corner of the 'Burgh, it's the boys and girls wearing the Black and Green of the Brookline Knights that capture the spirit of our proud community.

The Knights program is headed by Joe Nicholas, who entered his 19th year as President of the Brookline Knights Football Association in 2013. Nicholas joined the program in 1993 as a coach and in 1995 began his tenure as Chief Officer. Under his steady leadership the program has become one of the best in the City of Pittsburgh. During his term in office and years on the sideline, Brookline Knights teams have captured seventeen league titles and several runners-up. Many of these teams were led by Coach Joe himself.

Brookline Knights Football

It could be said that the Nicholas clan has become the First Family of Brookline football. Joe's wife Lisa is the organization's Vice-President and Treasurer. She is also the creator of "Lisa's Almost-Famous Hot Sausage," one of many culinary delights available at the concession stand. Brother Brian shared the coaching duties for fifteen years from 1993-2007, and returned to his familiar post on the Knights sideline for the 2013 season.

The Nicholas' children are also involved with the program. Nicole is team Secretary and for many years moonlighted as coach of the 13-Under cheerleaders. Gina and Jamie help with concession sales. Joey's eight-year playing career ended as Super Bowl champion in 2009. Now known as Coach Joey, he can be found stalking the sideline alongside his father. Granddaughter Jaedyn is already an accomplished cheerleader. Rumors have it that her first words were "Go Knights." The Brookline Knights are a top-notch organization run by a first-class family.

Brookline Knights Football

This kindred spirit has always run strong in the Knight's organization. Generous assistance from decades of community-minded volunteers, along with a long list of talented coaches, past and present, round out the Knight's staff. It's this sort of dedication that will ensure the future of the Brookline Knights football program, and it's one of the many things that makes the community of Brookline a special place.

In the Beginning - The Brookline Bears

Brookline Bears Helmet Logo - 1974

The Brookline Knights Football Association has its roots in the Brookline Bears Football Association, started in 1974 by John Dowling and Jim Raimondi. After the first season, the team changed it's name from Bears to Knights. Others who figured prominently in the birth of the Knights program were Chuck Senft, Bud Cambest, Jim McGrath, John Boris, Tony Ravoli, Sam Achille, Mike Betrose, Ted Gielas and Don Tarr. These founding fathers helped establish the solid foundation from which Brookline Knights football has grown over the years.

Brookline Knights Helmet Logo - late 1970s

From the first Bears team in 1974 to our present-day Knights, the organization has earned a strong reputation for turning out top quality players, ready for the rigors of High School football. The 1996 Knights took that a few steps further, boasting two future NFL players, Bruce Gradkowski and Ray Ventrone. Other former players to achieve NFL status are two-time collegiate football National Champion Don Graham of the 1977 Knights, and Ross Ventrone of the 1998 Knights. Currently, Ray Ventrone is playing for the San Francisco 49ers. Both Bruce Gradkowski and Ross Ventrone are wearing the Black and Gold of the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Don Graham (NFL 1987-1989).
Member 1982 and 1986 Penn State
National Championship teams.
Don Graham
Ray Ventrone (NFL 2005-present)
Ray Ventrone
Bruce Gradkowski (NFL 2006-present)
Bruce Gradkowski
Ross Ventrone (NFL 2010-present)
Ross Ventrone

  The Ventrone Brothers - Knights in the NFL  

Brookline Knights Helmet Logo

All Knights home games are played at Danny McGibbeny Field in Brookline Memorial Park. Back in the 1970s, the Knights called Moore Park home. The Brookline Park complex began in 1947, when the land was purchased from the Anderson family. Take a look back through the decades and see how Brookline Park has evolved from a twenty acre farm into the multi-purpose park in use today. Let the "Brookline Park Renaissance" be your guide.

The 1977 Termite team gather for a photo
 following their final game of the season.
The 1977 Brookline Knights Termite team gathers for a photo after the final game of the season.

1978 Brookline Knights Program Cover.

1978 Brookline Knights Program Cover.    1978 Brookline Knights Program Cover.

1978 Brookline Knights Program Cover.    1978 Brookline Knights Program Cover.

Brookline Football

Before the Knights

Youth football in Brookline has its origins long before the Knights program was introduced. Dating back to the 1930s, Brookline fielded a sandlot team called the Brookline Merchants, who played in the city leagues. American Legion Post #540 sponsored a sandlot team for many years, dating back to the 1940s. City High Schools fielded teams as far back as the 1920s. Even local elementary schools, like Resurrection, St. Pius and Brookline, had varsity teams from the 1940s through the 1980s.

Two local sandlot teams whose heyday was the late-1960s were the "West" Brookline Royals and the "East" Brookline Quaills. It was an intra-neighborhood rivalry that still evokes emotions from those who slugged and slogged it out in the mud at Moore Park. These games were classic Brookline bone-crunching gridiron brawls.

1964 Golden Cue 12-13 yr old team.
The Bellaire Place 13-Under football team from 1964, sponsored by "The Golden Cue" bar and grill.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Brookline also sported teams that were organized by the kids themselves. Coaches were recruited and sponsors helped with equipment costs and referees. These were neighborhood teams, like the Lynnbrook Lions, Jacob Jets, Bellaire's Golden Cue and the Milan Eagles of 1964. They formed their own league. These match-ups only lasted a year or two until the players moved on to sandlot ball. The memories have lasted a lifetime.

Here are a few pictures of youth teams from the Brookline area:

1930 - South Hills High School Varsity
1932 - The Brookline Merchants
1947 - American Legion Post #540 Sandlot Team
1951 - Resurrection Elementary Varsity
1952 - Resurrection Elementary Varsity
1953 - Resurrection Elementary Varsity
1954 - Resurrection Elementary Varsity
1954 - South Hills High School Varsity
1960 - Brookline Royals Sandlot Team
1964 - "The Golden Cue" 12-13 year olds
1965 - South Hills Catholic High School Freshman Team
1968 - Brookline Quaills Sandlot Team
1966/1971 - Brookline Royals Sandlot Team
1975 - St. Pius X Elementary Varsity
1976 - South Hills High School Varsity

St Pius X Saints Football team - 1974/1975
The 1974 St. Pius X Saints varsity team. This was one of the last Brookline Diocesan football teams.

Templar Knights, in their distinctive
white mantles with red cross, were
among the most skilled fighting
formations in history. The heavily
armored knights on their warhorses
were feared and respected warriors.

If anyone has information on the Brookline Knights or other Brookline teams from
the pre-Knights era, please contact us at
We'd be glad to include this information here on our website.

Classic Peanuts

<Brookline History>