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SSA Celebrates the Opening of The Gene Deal Fields

On Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, Shady Side Academy celebrated the official opening of the Gene Deal Fields, a state-of-the-art outdoor athletic facility on the Senior School campus that honors the extraordinary legacy of SSA’s longtime coach and athletic director Gene Deal

Guests gathered under a tent next to the stunning new facility to enjoy lunch and a program that paid tribute to Deal, the project donors, and everyone who made the Gene Deal Fields a reality. Blue the Bulldog and the SSA cheerleaders greeted donors, alumni, faculty, staff, coaches, family and friends. President Bart Griffith '93 gave opening remarks, and David Deal '01 introduced his father, both speaking about Deal's incredible 40-year legacy at Shady Side as a coach, AD, educator, mentor and friend. Gene Deal spoke from the heart about his 40 years at Shady Side and the importance of kindness, and Athletic Director Sean Simmons closed out the program. Then, members of the Deal family - including Gene, wife Cheryl, sons David '01 and Brian '04, and five grandchildren, officially cut the ribbon on the Gene Deal Fields.

The Gene Deal Fields features an artificial turf field lined for baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer and field hockey. The 154,000-square-foot field is the ninth-largest continuous piece of artificial sports turf in the country. The Galliot Family Grandstand and The Howson Family Terrace provide an enhanced spectator experience and outdoor gathering space with ADA accessible ramps. The Killian Cavanaugh Memorial Baseball Field and the softball field include dugouts, batting cages and bullpens, and will soon have additional bleacher seating behind the backstops. There are also two scoreboards. When not in use by SSA Middle and Senior School athletic teams, the Gene Deal Fields will be available for rental by youth and community organizations.

Shady Side Academy partnered with Strada LLC, a Pittsburgh-based design firm, on the design of the fields, and the SSA Facilities Department, led by Director of Facilities Paul Francioni, oversaw the construction, which began in March 2022. The project has been primarily funded by more than $2.2 million in donations.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, the Bulldog varsity soccer teams will play the inaugural games on the Gene Deal Fields. Gene Deal will conduct a ceremonial coin toss before the SSA girls' soccer team faces Sewickley Academy at 9:30 a.m., and then the SSA boys' soccer team will face Plum at 11:30 a.m. 


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