News out of Ramsey, New Jersey last month indicated that Don Bosco Prep football head coach Greg Toal retired.
It seemed a bit strange with Toal boasting a 178-29 coaching record in 18 seasons with the Ironmen. Toal brought national championships, state championships to the school and introduced the state of New Jersey to the notion of football teams traveling across the country and playing other prep schools with similar prestige.
After Toal’s abrupt retirement, Don Bosco Prep quickly named Mike Teel, the school’s new head varsity football coach. Toal didn’t show up to Teel’s introductory press conference and many within the area began to speculate that Coach Toal was forced to retire, rather than leaving on his own free will.
Include Steve Levy to that list. Levy helped Don Bosco become a nationally ranked prep power in the late 90s and early 2000s as quarterback, along with former Bosco running back Ryan Grant. A native of Cornwall, NY, Levy was named Northern New Jersey Player of the Year in 2001.
Check Out Steve Levy Chatting With Brandon Scoop B Robinson on Scoop B Radio
Appearing on today’s episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, Levy reflected on his time playing under Coach Toal. “He is the driving factor in the full ride that I got and the athletic scholarship that I received from the University of California Berkeley,” Steve Levy said on the Scoop B Radio Podcast. “He is the reason why I am a successful person in business. I think about him every day, I think about his teaching everyday. His blue collar, hard hat, lunch pail attitude, it works and he transformed me into a man.”
Levy, was ranked as one of the state of New Jersey’s top quarterbacks. The QB was voted first team all- state, county and all league and named New Jersey’s Player of the Year by the Bergen Record. He was also named Bergen County Offensive Player of the Year by the Newark Star Ledger. The Cal Berkeley grad who would go on to team up with DeSean Jackson, Marshawn Lynch and Aaron Rodgers as a Golden Bear was also voted the state of New Jersey’s Jewish Athlete of the Year in 2001. Levy had to decline the honor because his family is Catholic.
In his heart of hearts, Levy believes that Toal’s abrupt retirement was weird and it didn’t sit right. “In the beginning I didn’t really know that was on the table, he said. “But in the beginning I was like: ‘oh ok well if that’s what he wants to do then I am happy for him.’
“I was going to support him. I was going to call him and just as everything kind of unraveled you know he didn’t say much and that’s what i thought was a little weird and then he didn’t show up to Mike Teel’s press conference, which I though was a little weird and then father Jim Heuser who is the director and principal, as you know made some very strange comments to the press in a media release when they hired Mike Teel.”
Don Bosco Prep president, Father Jim Heuser addressed the Toal retirement and hiring of new Don Bosco Prep head coach Mike Teel in a statement circulated to the community, stating:
“Finally, there has been much discussion concerning the announcement of Coach Toal’s retirement before and during last week’s press conference. Prior to the press conference last Thursday, representatives of the Board of Trustees, including our Board Chairman, met with Coach Toal concerning my decision and left with a handshake and the clear understanding that he had agreed to retire from his position. Respecting that decision, we communicated that to our students, faculty, and other interested parties last week, as Coach Toal was advised was our intent. We were surprised to later learn that Coach Toal had apparently reversed his decision.”
Levy believes that things began to unravel after Father Jim Heuser’s statement was released to the community. “You started to hear things like how leadership and how they had handled a very delicate and important situation not only to New Jersey but to thousands of young men and their families that have been positively affected by Coach Toal’s teachings for the last eighteen years. So when I started hearing the real story I was extremely upset, I was embarrassed, and I was hurt. Those were the three feelings that I had the most and still feel.”
Levy contended on the Scoop B Radio podcast that his issue in the Toal debacle had nothing to do with newly named Don Bosco Prep head coach Mike Teel, who succeeded him at the starting quarterback position after Levy graduated, but with Bosco’s leadership. “My issue is directly correlated for a lack of leadership in handling from the top of Don Bosco,” said Levy. “Which sure has to do with the board and ultimately with Father Jim Heuser of the mishandling and the impulse of what they did to Coach Toal.”
Where do we go from here? “I want Coach Toal to be happy,” said Levy.
“So what ever that takes. I can’t sit here and talk for Coach Toal. But I just want the man to be happy and I want the man to be respected the way that he should be. The way that the iconic figure, he is an iconic figure Scoop you know just as well as anybody that knows anything about high school football in New Jersey that when you talk about high school football to the end of this earth they will talk about Greg Toal. Greg Toal will be mentioned in every single thing that has anything to do with high school football till the end of time.”
And as far as Don Bosco Prep leadership? “What I want to happen with Father Jim Heuser, which a lot of alumni which a lot of people that went to Don Bosco that are reading and hearing everything that has happened we want him out,” Levy told Scoop B Radio.
“He has another year and a half on his contract or rather his reelection we want him out. It’s not so much as how he handled firing Coach Toal as a legend, yeah obviously that is a huge thing, but I’m talking about leadership and the lack of accountability, the lack of integrity, the lack of just not business sense. To treat employees that way and then that trickles down to the students that affects everybody.”
In 33 years of coaching, Greg Toal is ranked 10th all-time in the state of New Jersey in wins as a football coach. Toal owns a career record of 305-55-2.