Packers coach Mike McCarthy saddened over Greenfield school closing

April 2, 2018 GMT

Mike McCarthy couldn’t save his hometown St. Rosalia Academy this time around.

The head coach of the Green Bay Packers, a St. Rosalia alumnus, was heartsick to learn of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh’s decision to close the school.

He has a foundation that provides annual tuition relief for students at the Catholic school.

“I’m extremely disappointed,” McCarthy, a Greenfield native, told the Tribune-Review on Wednesday. “I’m not going to point fingers. But this situation in Greenfield is very personal to me and my family. My family has four generations going through there.”

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announced the school’s closing Saturday, along with mergers between Monroeville’s North American Martyrs School and St. Bernadette School and Assumption School in Bellevue and Northside Catholic School in Brighton Heights.

Bishop David Zubik said declining enrollment and heavy financial burdens factored into the decision to close St. Rosalia school — a decision made in conjunction with church leadership.

McCarthy said he thought the school’s new principal, Sean Davis, was doing a great job.

“When you lose something important, you just wish you would have had a chance to save it,” he said.

McCarthy has definitely done his part. His donations have kept the school’s doors open for years.

He said his foundation has given $550,000 to the school and church over the past seven years.

“To be in this predicament is disappointing,” he said. “I’m sick about it. When you feel like you are doing your part to keep things going, just like everything in life, you want to be communicated with and you want accountability. Something obviously didn’t go right to be in this position. I’m just stating the obvious.”

The pre-K through eighth-grade education program at St. Rosalia Academy will close at the end of the current school year.

St. Rosalia Academy students will be assisted in finding another Catholic school to attend and those students supported by the Extra Mile Education Foundation will continue to have the opportunity for a Catholic education available to them.

Davis, who became principal in July, said he is proud to have McCarthy as an alumnus.

“We’re grateful he has never forgotten his roots,” he said. “It’s unfortunate what is happening, but I understand the process.”

He said he is helping families find other Catholic schools as possible destinations for St. Rosalia students.

The Rev. Joseph Reschick addressed the school closure at the end of Mass on Sunday.

“In my 28 years as pastor, this was the hardest decision I have had to make,” he said. “Did I want to make this decision? No, definitely not. Did I have to make this decision? Yes.”

There are 22 students in catechism classes and 99 enrolled in the grade school. McCarthy said he has two nieces at the grade school.

“I feel like Mr. Davis was a breath of fresh air and doing his best to turn things around,” he said. “The school has always been a vibrant part of the community. We had hoped it would survive.”

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, bschmitt@tribweb.com or via Twitter at @Bencschmitt.