Shady Side Academy announces ‘The Gene Deal Fields’ project to honor longtime Athletic Director

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Tuesday, February 16, 2021 | 5:47 PM


Shady Side Academy is set to honor longtime athletic director Gene Deal.

On Tuesday, Shady Side Academy announced the plans for “The Gene Deal Fields,” a new $1.75 million multi-sport turf field complex. In October, Deal announced his 31-year tenure as the Shady Side Academy athletic director will conclude at the end of the 2021 school year.

Shady Side announced it will turn the lower grass athletic fields of their senior school campus into a state-of-the-art outdoor sports complex featuring several improvements. Shady Side’s news release said the project will be highlighted by a multi-use turf field that is lined for lacrosse, soccer, baseball, softball and field hockey. The improvements also will include new grandstands, a viewing pavilion and terrace, a new scoreboard and upgraded landscaping and walkways.

There also will be new team dugouts and a batting tunnel for baseball and softball.

Deal, who was hired in 1982 and appointed as Shady Side’s fifth athletic director in 1990, said the field project was a special way to be remembered by the school.

“It is a wonderful gift and indeed an honor to be remembered by Shady Side families, parents, students and alumni in this kind way,” Deal said in a statement. “I did not do any of this alone, and I need to thank so many people who have had a great influence on my life here at SSA. I am happy to leave a lasting legacy in the form of new athletic fields at Shady Side Academy, and I am truly thankful for the generous donations from families and friends to this project. Shady Side has given so much to my family and me over the years. I hope these fields will be enjoyed and appreciated by all future Bulldogs.”

Construction tentatively is set for this summer, with the goal of the project being completed by fall.

The project was funded completely by donations. Shady Side Academy said a lead gift from the DSF Charitable Foundation and additional donations from Shady Side Academy community members has allowed the school to raise more than $1 million in gifts and commitments.

Since taking over the athletic director position in 1990, Deal drastically has impacted the department in several ways. He played a crucial role in Shady Side rejoining the WPIAL in 1992, which increased the exposure for Shady Side athletics and also provided its sports teams with competitive balance.

The newly named Bulldogs have won 64 WPIAL titles, four WIHLMA titles and 15 PIAA championships in 18 different boys and girls sports since 1993.

“Gene Deal is a marvel, a true community steward and someone who has been fiercely loyal to Shady Side students and families for four decades,” school president Bart Griffith said in a statement. “This project is a fitting testament to his legacy of ‘kids first’ leadership and the meaningful difference he has made in the lives of so many, both at SSA and beyond.”

After his tenure as the Shady Side Academy athletic director comes to an end, Deal will transition into a new role as an alumni engagement officer at Shady Side.

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

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