Last month, Don Bosco Prep football head coach Greg Toal retired. Toal had a 178-29 coaching record in 18 seasons coached the Ironmen to nine New Jersey state championships and two mythical national championships and state championships. One of Toal’s former players, Corey Wootton, had the highest praise for Toal.
The defensive end, a Northwestern grad, played played five seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears. Wootton fondly remembers how much respect Coach Toal commanded in the locker room back in Ramsey, NJ. “Everyone had that mutual respect for Coach Toal,” Wootton told me by phone.
“That’s what set him apart.”
Many remember Wootton for recording his first NFL tackle against Brett Favre. Favre, then a member of the Minnesota Vikings got a concussion, sidelined and later retired.
Check Out Wootton & Scoop B Chatting About Life
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. “It’s a shame the way things down at Don Bosco,” said Wootton. “We still don’t know exactly what happened, but it seemed he and the president had some tension.”
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.”
Former Don Bosco Prep and California Berkeley quarterback Steve Levy appeared on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, earlier this week and defended Toal, stating:
“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.”
Check Out Steve Levy & Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson Discussing The State Of Don Bosco Prep Football On Scoop B Radio
Toal has coached talent. He coached former Green Bay Packer, Ryan Grant as well as Michigan Wolverine standout, Jabril Peppers, who is slated to make a splash in the NFL Draft next month. Despite the controversy, Wootton, now pursuing a career in television hopes that Toal can leave Bosco as a king after a great career that includes 300 wins. “With the career that he had though, you have to let him go out on his own terms when he’s ready,” he said. “Nine state titles? Two national championships? C’mon, you have to let him go out on his own.”
Wootton and newly minted Don Bosco Prep head football coach, Mike Teel have history. The two were high school teammates at Don Bosco during their clory days in the early 2000s. He’s pleased to see Teel get a shot. “I’m happy for him in getting the coaching job,” Wootton said.
“But there’s still a dark cloud over what happened [with Toal]. He’s a young guy and he’s got a great opportunity. I wish him nothing but the best. He’s a great dude.”