After 31 years, Shady Side Academy athletic director Gene Deal transitioning to new role

Saturday, October 10, 2020 | 11:01 AM

After 31 years as the athletic director at Shady Side Academy, Gene Deal has decided to move on to his next venture.

On Oct. 2, the school announced Deal, who is SSA’s fifth athletic director, will transition to his new role as alumni engagement officer at the end of the 2020-21 school year.

“It is with great humility and pride that I pass the torch,” Deal said. “I thank the administration for having had this opportunity. I have been rewarded with the greatest experience in high school sports. I wish nothing but the best for all of the students, parents, faculty and staff of Shady Side Academy.”

Since 1990, Deal has been leaving his footprint on the Shady Side Academy athletic department. He was a big part of the school rejoining the WPIAL in 1992 and also created better opportunities for female student-athletes at Shady Side by adding new sports programs like crew, cross country, golf, ice hockey, soccer and squash.

During his 31 years as the athletic director, Shady Side teams have won 63 WPIAL championships, four Women’s Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid-Atlantic titles and 15 PIAA championships in 18 boys and girls sports.

Not only did Deal affect the entire athletic program, but he also coached football, basketball and track. He was hired in 1982 to teach physical education and serve as the assistant athletic director along with coaching. Over nine seasons as the school’s football coach, Deal had a record of 43-37-2.

Before taking over the position in 1990, Deal said he was given a message from the previous athletic director that turned out to be right.

“Outgoing AD Bob Grandizio Sr. told me it was the greatest job in the world,” Deal said. “He was correct. For the past 30 years, I have been fortunate to experience high school sports at a very high level.”

Through his time at Shady Side Academy, Deal has left a mark that not many have throughout the WPIAL, and while the school is known for its academics, the athletic department has taken off during his time at the helm. He believes that’s at the center of the school’s success.

“SSA’s co-curricular approach of educating the entire student body through participation on a sports team has continued to be the great strength of our program,” Deal said. “Our students continue to amaze me with their steadfast love for their sports and teams. We remain strong today due to the competitive spirit of our players and the excellence of our coaching.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at or via Twitter .


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