Former Troy Christian High School wrestling coach Ty Morgan took an immediate liking to B.J. Toal. That was back in 2010 when then-Eagles coach Steve Goudy was hoping to entice Morgan into succeeding him.
Morgan accompanied Goudy for a tour of the campus facilities, including the multi-purpose fieldhouse. That’s where Morgan first encountered Toal, who was drilling with future teammate Jordan Marshall. They would be promising sophomores that coming season, Morgan’s first as coach.
»EARLIER COVERAGE: Troy Christian wrestling champ dies
“That summer and fall I was wrestling a lot,” recalled Morgan, a state champ first at Graham then Wayne during his high school career. “(Toal) was really struggling on defense. I took him down a lot. One of the things I’m good at is using your hips and good leg defense. By the end of his sophomore year I hated wrestling him because it was like getting hit by a Mack truck. He would just crush you. I was using every old-man trick I could muster.”
Those are cherished memories for Morgan and everyone else who interacted with Toal during his equally celebrated wrestling career, first at Troy Christian, then at the University of Missouri, where he followed older brother Zach Toal to wrestle.
B.J. Toal died from complications of a head injury last Monday following 10 days in intensive care at a Columbia, Missouri, hospital. He was 23.
A Columbia Police Department report said Toal was observed in an altercation with another male and then ran when confronted during the early hours of April 1 in downtown Columbia. Toal was located in an alleyway with a laceration to his head from a fall and hospitalized, the report said.
Toal’s death resonated throughout the Missouri wrestling program, which he was hoping to rejoin after leaving because of a neck/back injury. It also hit hard his hometown of Sidney and the Troy Christian communities.
The Toal brothers, John, Zach and B.J., were all multiple-sport standouts at Troy Christian. John was a small-school All-Ohio football player and Zach won three straight state wrestling championships. B.J. won consecutive 182-pound Division III state wrestling titles as a junior and senior and was the state runner-up as a sophomore.
“B.J. was a blessing to all who knew him,” his father Bruce Toal said in a statement. “He was a compassionate and loving person who touched so many people’s lives. He will be deeply missed. The outpouring of love and concern from all who knew him testifies to the kind of person he was.”
Visitation will be from 3:30-8 p.m. on Friday, April 21, at Connection Point Church of God in Sidney. A funeral will follow the next day at 10:30 a.m. at the church.
Morgan has since reversed coaching roles with Goudy, who’s now Troy Christian’s coach and Morgan his assistant. Morgan last saw Toal working out at the Troy Christian fieldhouse over the Christmas holiday break. Toal was an assistant wrestling coach at Battle High School in Columbia the last two seasons. He was a senior at Missouri, pursuing an undergraduate degree.
“It’s been a hard pill to swallow,” Morgan said. “We’re all still in the shock phase. He was a very special kid and we had a special relationship with him and his family.”
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