By Jeff Stover
@MercuryXStover on Twitter
The adjustment doesn’t figure to be a challenging one for Robert Felty Jr.
He brings a solid résumé to his new job in the Perkiomen Valley School District.
Felty was recently named the high school’s new athletic director. A longtime fixture on the staff at Tri-Valley High School in Hegins (Schuylkill County), he fills the vacancy created with Larry Glanski’s retirement after 34 years — 16 of them as the school’s AD.
“I thought with everything I know about Perk Valley, I wanted to make it the place I wanted to be for myself and my family,” Felty said.
“My focus is to try to lead as AD to create lifelong memories for students, parents, the community and coaches.”
Tri-Valley contributed extensively to his background. Felty is a 1994 graduate of the school, having competing in basketball — he scored 2,000 points for his scholastic career — and baseball there.
After attending George Washington for two years and transferring to Cleveland State for two more — he played baseball at both schools — Felty returned to his alma mater. Having logged 19 years there, he noted the large-school atmosphere at PV has considerable contrast to TV.
“It’s very different,” he said. “Tri-Valley is small, Class 1A and 2A for sports. PV has more sports to offer.”
While serving as both principal and athletic director, Felty put in some time as a coach. He headed the Bulldogs’ girls basketball program, which was a state champion in 2013, and was an assistant for baseball, which also claimed a state title in 1996.
He’s not looking to duplicate that workload at his current school, however.
“I have no intentions of coaching at PV,” he said. “There’s a lot to do.”
His variety of experiences helped Felty emerge from the more than 70 applicants who applied for the PV post. That number was narrowed down to approximately 20, with the final interview held before a committee of administrators, teachers, coaches and parents.
“We had an amazing response to the posting for the position with many qualified candidates,” Dr. Cynthia Moss, the high school’s lead principal, said. “The applicants all brought something to the table, and it was difficult to down select to get to our finalists.
“From my point of view, Mr. Felty’s experience at Tri-Valley and with District 11 left me confident that he could walk into the job and could start to fill the big shoes of Larry Glanski. I am excited to see what Mr. Felty brings to the position as we begin winter sports.”
That has been delayed at least three weeks, a result of the shutdown of Pennsylvania scholastic sports by the state government. The original plan called for seasons to start Friday, Dec. 4, with events starting Monday, Jan. 4.
“It depends on the school district and the number of practices they schedule,” Felty said. “With us starting Jan. 4, we can start events Jan. 25.”
Like his peers statewide, Felty was molded by having to deal with the cancellation of the 2020 spring sports season in Pennsylvania.
“The most difficult thing,” he recalled, “was supporting the coaches. It can be frustrating to be ready to start the season, then have to shut down or delay it.
“It was difficult to see the seniors not have a season. While it was difficult to see the experience, it’s not like losing someone to COVID-19.”
At PV, Felty takes over an athletic program that is coming off a relatively successful fall season. The girls cross country team was Pioneer Athletic Conference champion with a 7-0 run, football (4-1, 6-2) and girls volleyball (8-2) were both second in the league, and five other sports posted winning records.
The district also completed a major facility upgrade this past fall, installing artificial turf on the playing surface at Thomas J. Keenan Stadium and a multi-use field on the athletic complex. Replacement of the all-weather track surface at Keenan Stadium was another part of the project.
“I’m very impressed with Perk Valley, the district commitment,” Felty said. “It (other upgrades) is something we’ll continue to discuss and evaluate.
“I’m really looking forward to continuing the athletic teams’ progress (Larry) Glanski worked on for 16 years.”