Paul’s Run Resident and Former Father Judge Football Coach Shares His Record-Breaking Journey to a Fulfilling Retirement
JANUARY 15, 2021
Resident of Paul’s Run, John “Whitey” Sullivan, is most famously known in the Philadelphia area as the record-breaking football coach of Father Judge High. Earning his nickname for his signature blonde hair, John’s combined talent for coaching and teaching has impacted the lives of students and athletes throughout his career of over 50 years.
“I played football and baseball at Father Judge High when I was a kid. The coach there got me into Villanova, and after I graduated, he offered me a job coaching and teaching biology. I ended up teaching there for 51 years and I coached for 25,” John recalls. Getting to coach the team he was once a part of, John was thrilled to have this opportunity, but he knew the players had plenty of room to grow. “When I first started coaching, the team hadn’t had a winning season in five years,” he explains.
Breaking Records and Changing Lives: John Leads Father Judge High to Victory
Excited to improve the team’s skills, in just two years John coached the players to finish their season with a record of 13 wins and one loss. “We were ranked eighth in the nation that year for the Catholic League,” he says proudly. “Throughout the years, we had 195 wins, 80 losses and 5 ties. I still hold the record for most wins in the history of the Philadelphia Catholic League. I’m really proud of that,” he affirms.
After a tremendous journey of victory, John retired from coaching in 1999, and continued teaching biology at Father Judge High. “I retired just three years ago,” he says.
Of all my years teaching and coaching, what I enjoyed most was helping kids get an education. I sent over 400 kids to college, and more than my victories as a coach, what I was most proud of was the people that my players and students became. They’ve all grown to be really good people.John S., resident of Paul’s Run
Finding Paul’s Run: John meets new friends, families, and neighbors
Shortly after his retirement, John and his wife, who was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, moved to a retirement community in Lancaster. Sadly, John’s wife passed away in the spring of 2020 and his children wanted their father to find a safe home with compassionate care.
“It’s been a tough year for me. My children are really happy that I’m at Paul’s Run. They wanted me to live in a place where they knew I’d be taken care of, and somewhere they knew I was safe, which is what this community is,” he explains. Having grown up in the Philadelphia area, John was thrilled to call Paul’s Run home, and his children were comforted by the community’s caring team members.
Since moving to Paul’s Run, I’ve had such a positive experience. The food is top shelf, really good, and so much better than the community I was living in before. The team here is so friendly. You can tell they really care about the residents who live here.John S., resident at Paul’s Run
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Moving in October of 2020, John has enjoyed meeting the many friends, families, and neighbors of Paul’s Run. “I’ve met a lot of great people here. They’re so nice and they’re from so many different places and have really interesting stories,” he says. “Another good thing is there are a lot of women, maybe nine for every man,” John laughs.
The Very Best in Compassionate Care
Meeting residents throughout the community, John has also developed great relationships with the Paul’s Run’s team. “Since moving in, I’ve especially gotten to know Linda,” John says referring to Paul’s Run Marketing Associate. “She’s been so wonderful and always helps me with anything I need,” he adds.
“The other day she surprised me by setting up a Zoom call with a bunch of my former football players from Father Judge. They’re from all around the country and I got to see and talk with them for over an hour. It was really great. It was so nice of her to do that,” John reflects.
As Paul’s Run team members continue to go above and beyond to ensure residents’ fulfillment and happiness throughout their retired years, John feels lucky to call this community home. Feeling great comfort in knowing that a caring neighbor is just around the corner, John can’t wait to discover more of this beautiful community.