Bishop Ahr High School officials condemned the “inappropriate” email longtime athletics director Mike Wolfthal sent to his peers but asked the school community for patience as they handle the personnel matter internally.
The email, in which Wolfthal told his peers to “go —— yourselves,” came in response to how conference athletics directors voted earlier this week on two controversial proposals during a statewide NJSIAA meeting.
“The wording of Mr. Wolfthal’s email was inappropriate, and we take this matter seriously,” Bishop Ahr High School’s principal, Sister Donna Marie Trukowski, said. “Undoubtedly, he made an error in judgment, and his remarks do not reflect the spirit of Bishop Ahr High School. Because this is a personnel matter, we will deal with the situation internally.
“In the spirit of Pope Francis’ directive that this is to be a Year of Mercy, I firmly believe we must address this situation with fairness and compassion. Knowing Mr. Wolfthal for over 40 years, I have been witness to his dedication to the welfare of Bishop Ahr students and the athletic program throughout his long career.
“We ask our school community for patience and understanding as we work through this matter in a peaceful and just way. Please keep Mr. Wolfthal and the entire school community in your prayers during this time.”
The NJSIAA proposals, which passed overwhelmingly and will become bylaws pending the approval of state Commissioner of Education David C. Hespe, could create a nonpublic school football conference and separate the nonpublic schools from public schools for the state individual wrestling tournament.
In his correspondence with 31 other GMC athletic directors, Wolfthal expressed gratitude to those who voted against the proposals in support of Bishop Ahr and St. Joseph — the league’s other nonpublic member — and also expressed displeasure with those who voted in favor of the legislation by writing that those administrators could “go —— yourselves.”
Wolfthal could not be immediately reached for comment. GMC President Carl Buffalino said the conference will wait to see what disciplinary action Bishop Ahr takes, if any, against Wolfthal before making any decisions regarding Wolfthal’s positions within the league as a member of its executive committee and co-chairman of its football committee.
Unlike the five nonpublic school football teams from the Big North Conference (Bergen Catholic, Don Bosco, Paramus Catholic, DePaul and St. Joseph of Montvale) – some of which have developed into national powers – Bishop Ahr and St. Joseph, which finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the GMC White Division, are not widely regarded as threats to public school programs on the gridiron.
Unlike Bishop Ahr, whose wrestling team competes in District 19 and Region 5, St. Joseph does not field a grappling program.