Newly appointed Eagles coach Michael Tolkin will be stepping down as the head coach of The New York Athletic Club following the opening match of the 2012 Rugby Super League season on Saturday, March 10 vs The Old Blue in New York.
Tolkin has coached NYAC since 2001 and officially begins his tenure with the Eagles on April 1st. Longtime assistant coach Bruce McLane will assume the head coach role at NYAC starting March 11 through the remainder of the season.
Tolkin will also be stepping down from his long-held position as head coach of Xavier High School following the team's March 13 match vs. St. Thomas High School of Houston. Tolkin has led the Xavier squad since 1987. Nineteen-year assistant Joe Sweeney will join with fellow coach Greg Norris as co-head coaches for the remainder of the season. Following the 2012 season, Xavier will announce the future coaching structure of Xavier High School Rugby, the oldest continuous program in America.
"Xavier High School and The New York Athletic Club are both monumental institutions and have each provided me the great opportunities which have brought me to,” said Tolkin. “I learned all about coaching through many successes and some failures at Xavier over my 24 seasons. Coaching the Xavier students gave me great pride and satisfaction as they always gave their all, and each of them loved representing his school and its tradition. My many assistant coaches were so instrumental in making Xavier one of the most successful school programs in America. I'd especially like to publicly thank long- time coaches Joe Sweeney, Tim Walsh, and my original partner, Pat Cusanelli; they are some of the best coaches in the country. Club President Tony Paolozzi has been with me the longest and has done more work over the years than anyone will ever know. I would also like to acknowledge the positive way that the Xavier administration, especially Headmaster Mike Livigni and President Jack Raslowsky, has embraced and encouraged the growth of our rugby program over the years.
"When I took over NYAC in 2001, it was our goal to bring the rugby program up to the prominence of the many highly successful NYAC sports, and we have achieved that. After getting into the RSL, we continued to grow and I feel great satisfaction that we have been able gain so much success over the years. As with Xavier, the NYAC players built a great program and they play with tremendous passion for our club; I have been fortunate to have coached these guys, and they have taught me a great deal. My assistant throughout the RSL years, Bruce McLane, is a passionate and great rugby man. We have always challenged each other and love rugby. He will be an excellent leader to bring NYAC to further success. Chairman and former teammate Ted Vacarro has been outstanding in representing the team at The New York Athletic Club for many years, and we are now in excellent standing, with the full support of the leadership, in the world's greatest athletic club."