New Kensington man retires from career that helped turn around troubled youth
Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series that features Alle-Kiski Valley residents and the notable things that they do.
John McCloud leaves a legacy of mentorship in trying to help youth who have gotten into trouble to turn their lives around.
McCloud, 65, has served as athletic director at Summit Academy in Summit Township, Butler County, for 21 years.
The facility is a privately operated juvenile treatment facility for boys and young men ages 14 to 19 who have struggled with dependency and delinquency. About 200 kids from across the nation who have had the opportunity to attend the school.
McCloud also served as senior counselor, team leader, administrator, executive director, head wrestling coach and football defensive coordinator.
His last day was Friday, March 29.
Born, raised and still a resident of New Kensington, the Valley High School alum spent decades working with troubled youths.
“It’s been an awesome experience,” McCloud said. “We’ve had some very good times with athletics. We’ve done some things, and we’re very proud of that.”
McCloud couldn’t single out any particular programs or specific initiatives implemented during his time at the academy. Instead, he did as he always has done, focused on the students.
“When we work with them, day in and day out, their response is critical,” he said. “That’s what we try to do every day, try to change their response because they’re accustomed to failing or quitting. Our responsibility is to get them not to quit. They can work hard.”
McCloud wrestled at Valley for coach Chad Hanna in the late 1960s and early ’70s.
“Growing up, I was in the streets,” McCloud said. “I did a lot with wrestling and football, but I was in the streets. I had a lot of friends, a lot of relationships, but I knew about juvenile delinquency.”
He credited his family and Hanna with developing a strong work ethic and ability to work with young people.
“My father and a lot of friends I had growing up beside me were pretty instrumental in me being here right now, especially my coach,” McCloud said. “He always wanted to make sure I was at school. If it was in the wrestling room on the mat, he always taught me to be first and work hard.”
McCloud would go on to study at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster and Mansfield University in Mansfield.
He is leaving Summit — and New Kensington — with his wife, Pamela, and headed to Georgia to spend more time with their daughter, Anitra Graves.
His other retirement plans include golfing and coaching at a YMCA in Atlanta.
The Academy’s new athletic director is Ryan Parrish. Parrish served as a drug-and-alcohol counselor and assistant wrestling coach at Summit Academy.
McCloud said he worked with Parrish the past five years and is confident in his abilities.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .