Seton Hall Preparatory School

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Seton Hall Preparatory School
SetonHallPrep Emblem.jpg
Seton Hall Preparatory School is located in Essex County, New Jersey
Seton Hall Preparatory School
Seton Hall Preparatory School
Seton Hall Preparatory School is located in New Jersey
Seton Hall Preparatory School
Seton Hall Preparatory School
Seton Hall Preparatory School is located in the United States
Seton Hall Preparatory School
Seton Hall Preparatory School
120 Northfield Avenue

, ,

United States
Coordinates40°46′30″N 74°14′52″W / 40.77500°N 74.24778°W / 40.77500; -74.24778Coordinates: 40°46′30″N 74°14′52″W / 40.77500°N 74.24778°W / 40.77500; -74.24778
MottoHazard Zet Forward
(No matter the risk, keep moving forward)
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Patron saint(s)St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
PresidentMsgr. Michael Kelly
HeadmasterMsgr. Robert Harahan
Assistant HeadmasterMichael Gallo
Faculty79.8 FTEs[1]
Enrollment937 (2015-16)[1]
Student to teacher ratio11.7:1[1]
Campus size55 acres (220,000 m2)
Color(s)     Royal Blue and
Athletics conferenceSuper Essex Conference
NicknameSHP or The Prep
Team namePirates[2]
AccreditationMiddle States Association of Colleges and Schools[3]
PublicationSpectrum (literary magazine)
NewspaperThe Pirate
School fees$1,525[4]
Tuition$18,500 (2019-20)[4]
AffiliationRoman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark;
New Jersey Association of Independent Schools
Dean of StudiesKevin McNulty
Dean of MenMark Smith
Athletic DirectorLarry Baggitt
Admissions DirectorMichael Zinsmeister

Seton Hall Preparatory School, generally called Seton Hall Prep or "The Prep", is a Roman Catholic all boys' high school located in the suburban community of West Orange in Essex County, New Jersey, operating under the supervision of the Archdiocese of Newark.[5] Founded in 1856 with an original enrollment of five boys, Seton Hall Prep was originally located on the campus of Seton Hall University, where it became commonly known as "The Prep" as a way to distinguish it from "The University." In 1985, The Prep moved to its present location which was, at the time, West Orange High School. Seton Hall is the oldest Catholic college preparatory school in New Jersey.[6]

As of the 2015-16 school year, the school had an enrollment of 937 students and 79.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.7:1. The school's student body was 72.4% White, 11.1% Black, 6.0% Asian, 1.8% Hispanic and 8.8% two or more races.[1]

Seton Hall students follow a college preparatory program, with four-year requirements in the English language, mathematics, and theology. After completing a traditional core program during the first two years, students may establish a curriculum geared to their college and career plans from a wide selection of courses in science, history, language, fine arts, English and physical education. Seton Hall plans to offer college-level Advanced Placement (AP) courses in 26 areas during the 2019-20 school year.[7]

"The Prep" is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools[3] and is a member of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools.[8]


Founded in 1856, Seton Hall Preparatory School is the oldest Catholic college preparatory school in New Jersey.

Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley, first Bishop of Newark and nephew of Elizabeth Ann Seton, purchased an estate in Madison, New Jersey using money donated by Catholic Charities that would become the site of Seton Hall Prep. Five priests and eight laymen formed a Board of Directors to establish a Catholic preparatory school, college, and seminary. The inaugural class of five students first met on December 1, 1856.[6]

Seton Hall President Rt. Rev. Bernard McQuaid purchased an estate in South Orange in 1857, to which the school moved in 1860 to accommodate a larger student body. The Prep would spend the next 125 years on the institution's South Orange campus.

Until 1928, the President of Seton Hall College was also the head of the Preparatory Division. At that time, Rev. D.A. Mulcahy became the high school's first director. The following year, Rev. William Bradley was named director, then principal, and ultimately the school's first headmaster in 1938.

The prep school's population grew further over the next decades, with peaks in enrollment during World War II and in the mid 1970s. The school occupied three main buildings on the university campus: Mooney Hall, Duffy Hall, and Stafford Hall. A significant portion of the student body lived on campus until the last of the boarding students graduated in the mid-1950s.

In the early and mid twentieth century Prep drew its students principally from Essex and Union counties, but as the state's transportation system expanded in the 1960s and 1970s, the school began to draw students from Morris, Bergen, Hudson, Passaic and Middlesex counties. This led to growth in the number of students attending the school — in 1975, enrollment surpassed 1,100.[6]

In 1980, Rev. Michael E. Kelly became the first alumnus headmaster. Five years later, the Prep acquired an 11-acre (45,000 m2) campus of its own in nearby West Orange.

Expansion continued to be a priority for the Prep as the 21st century arrived. In 1993, the school purchased a 44-acre (180,000 m2) tract of land on nearby Prospect Avenue, overlooking the New York City skyline. Seton Hall Prep broke ground for construction of the Edward D. and Helen M. Kelly Athletic Complex (KAC) on this site in 1999. The project would span several years; the final phase of construction would not begin until 2014.[6] In 2013, the John J. Murphy '52 Science Center was opened, adding a new wing of classrooms and science labs to the school.

In 2014, Rev. Kelly became the school's first president. Rev. Msgr. Robert Harahan was appointed headmaster in his place. In 2015, as the now-open KAC was being completed, the school celebrated its 160th anniversary.

Prep life[edit]

The Prep offers a co-curricular activities program, with numerous academic, service, performance, cultural, publication, and recreation clubs and activities. Additionally, the Prep offers 16 varsity sports, most with accompanying sub-varsity level teams. The school reports that around 70% of its students participate in athletics at some point during their time at the Prep.[9] The main campus, accessible to Interstate 280 and several bus and train routes, is augmented by a nearby 44-acre (180,000 m2) site, the Kelly Athletic Complex (KAC), providing auxiliary athletic facilities, including a 400m all-weather track, a game field for lacrosse and soccer, and practice fields.


The students attending Seton Hall Prep hail from several New Jersey counties, and some have even lived in Staten Island and New York City during their time at the school. The Prep draws its student population from points as far as Jamesburg and Edison, to Chester and Denville, to Lyndhurst and Montville, to Pompton Plains and Kinnelon as well as Paterson and Hoboken. At the same time more than 80 students come from West Orange itself, 75 from neighboring South Orange/Maplewood and East Orange, and large contingents from close-by Bloomfield, Cedar Grove, the Caldwells, Verona, Morristown, Florham Park, East Hanover, Summit, Livingston and Morris Plains.


The mission statement of Seton Hall Prep, which was amended to its current form in 2018, reads as follows.[10]

Established in 1856, Seton Hall Preparatory School is a Catholic, college-preparatory school called to educate young men of diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. Firmly rooted in our Catholic identity and rich tradition, our mission is to foster the spiritual, intellectual, social and physical growth of our students. We do this in order to prepare them to meet the challenges of college and adulthood in a manner that embodies the values of spiritual awareness, academic excellence, personal maturity, and social responsibility with a particular emphasis on serving others.

Also in 2018, the Prep adopted a series of four pillars that define the ideal community fostered by the school and its students. These pillars — family, faith, compassion, and courage — were established as foundational principles for the work of Seton Hall Prep and the guidance of its students.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

The Prep offers many activities. Most students are involved in some type of after school program. Some of these clubs are as follows.

  • Performing Arts — Band, Brass/Wind Ensemble, C Tonians A Cappella Group, Chamber Music Club, Fall Drama, Jazz Band, Music Ministry, Spring Musical.
  • Interscholastic Competition Clubs — Chess Club, Forensics/Debate, Math Team, Mock Trial, Model UN Team, Quiz Bowl, Robotics Team, Stock Market Club.
  • Student Organizations — Ambassadors, Gregory Elementary School/Hazel Avenue Elementary School Tutoring Program, Kairos, Math Honor Society, National Honor Society, Peer Leadership, Spanish Honor Society, Student Council.
  • Publishing — Pirate (School Newspaper), Spectrum (Literary Publication), Tower (Yearbook).
  • Recreational Activity Clubs — Aerospace Club, Aquarium Society, Car Club, Cinema Club, Fishing Club, Guitar Club, Martial Arts Club, Museums Club, Ping Pong Club, SHP Eagles Club, Ski/Snowboard Club, Video Game Club.
  • Science Clubs — Engineering Club, Environmental Club.
  • Culture Clubs — Chinese Club, Gaelic Society, Italian Club, Japanese Club, Spanish Club, West Indian Organization.
  • Service Organizations — Autism Big Brothers, Knights of Setonia, Operation Smile, Service Club, Wounded Warrior Project.
  • Career Clubs — Future Business Leaders of America, Future Lawyers Club, Future Medical Leaders.
  • Political Organizations — Conservative Society, Democratic Society, Free Thinkers Society.
  • Athletic Organizations — Pirate Nation, Seton Hall Prep Network (SHPN).

In 1958–59, 1964–66, and again in 1968, the school's chess team was the New Jersey high school team champion, winning the Father Casimir J. Finley Trophy.[11]

Several of the school's clubs are run almost entirely by students. A notable example is SHPN, a sports news and information network dedicated to the coverage of Prep athletics. Founded by four seniors in 2016,[12] the students involved with the club have produced highlight videos and even full-length documentary vlogs chronicling the successes and failures of the school's athletic program.


The Seton Hall Prep Pirates[2] compete in the Super Essex Conference, following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[13] Prior to the NJSIAA's 2010 realignment, the school had competed as part of the Iron Hills Conference, which was made up of public and private high schools in Essex County, Morris County and Union County.[14]


Seton Hall Prep’s football program was its first sport that was run without influence from the university. After gaining independence following the 1907 season, the team, often referred to as “The Olympians,” was disbanded and replaced by a rugby team. Football returned to the Prep in 1912 and has remained in place ever since.[15]

In 1926, the Prep shut out St. Benedict’s on their way to their first ever championship — the fittingly named Catholic Prep School Championship. 20 years later, newly appointed headmaster Rev. William J. Duffy brought substantial changes to the Prep's entire athletic program. Faced with an unheard of enrollment of 1,300 students, Rev. Duffy banned postgraduates from competing for any of Seton Hall Prep's teams. As a result of the upheaval that followed, several new coaches were brought into the program, including Anthony J. Verducci in 1950.[15]

In 1954, Verducci became head coach, a position that he would hold until 1988. His tenure was highlighted by 11 of the Prep's 12 NJSIAA Parochial A North Championships and seven undefeated seasons. 1976-77 was perhaps the best season in program history, as the team finished 11-0 for the first time in school history and won the first of three straight state championships. The Pirates shut out their opponents eight times that season and would do so ten times in 1977-78, including a 15-0 shutout over Bergen Catholic in the state championship. The 1977-78 team outscored their opponents 290-6. The Prep was undefeated again in 1978-79 as Verducci extended his winning streak to 38 games. The Pirates surrendered only 72 points in their three consecutive championship seasons.[16] Verducci would retire with a 214-75-16 record, including 104 shutouts.[15]

The Pirates' best season since Verducci's retirement came 1997-98, when they went 10-1, losing only to St. Joe’s of Montvale in the Parochial A title game. In 2005, the team started 0-2 before winning their next eight games, losing the state championship game to powerhouse Don Bosco.[15]

Former Prep players who reached the NFL include John Schmitt, Chet Parlavecchio, Stanley Anthony “Tony” Woods, and Jarrod Johnson.[17][18]


Seton Hall Prep currently has 30 state baseball championships, including 15 in a 17-year period between 1948 and 1964.[19]

Following the 2007 season, the Pirates were ranked as the top team in the country by a number of media outlets. They were led by pitcher Rick Porcello, who was considered by some to be the best high school prospect in the country, ahead of future MLB all-stars such as Jason Heyward and Madison Bumgarner.[20] Porcello was selected by the Detroit Tigers as the 27th pick overall in the first round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft.[21] He signed a contract with the Tigers in August for $7 million, the richest deal ever for a high school player.[22] In its May 28, 2007 update, Baseball America ranked Seton Hall Prep third in the country, the only New Jersey school on its Top 50 ranking.[23] The team won the North A state sectional championship with a 3-0 shutout of Immaculata High School in the tournament final.[24] They would later win the North A state championship with a 10-1 win against St. Joseph High School.[25] Porcello would go on to pitch for the Tigers and the Boston Red Sox, with whom he won the 2016 American League Cy Young Award.[26]

Porcello is not the only former Pirate to be drafted by a major league team. In 2003, second baseman Eric Duncan was selected in the first round by the New York Yankees. Like Porcello, Duncan was considered one of the country's best high school prospects and was taken 27th overall. Another pitcher on the 2007 team, Evan Danieli, was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 33rd round in 2007; he opted to attend Notre Dame instead of signing and was later drafted in the 24th round of the 2010 draft by the Atlanta Braves. Other draftees include Paul Caffrey (Class of '69), Tom Ard ('83), Joe Martinez ('01), Jake Porcello ('09), Nick Ammirati ('09), John Norwood ('11), Mike Sheppard III ('12), and Matt O'Neill ('15).[19][27]


Seton Hall Prep was a basketball powerhouse for many years, winning the Iron Hills Conference title 20 times in a row before joining the Super Essex Conference in 2010.[28] The Pirates have won 14 Non-Public A state titles. The team has only had three head coaches since 1948: Frank "Finn" Tracey, Prep legend Bob Farrell, and current head coach Kevin Williams.

The team was the 2005 Non-Public North A state sectional champion, defeating Saint Joseph Regional High School, 63-54 in the final game.[29] The team went on to win the state championship and the 2005 Tournament of Champions, with a 63-60 win over St. Patrick's High School, in a game played at Continental Airlines Arena.[30] This would be the Pirates' second TOC victory, with the other triumph occurring in 1999.[28]

Coach Bob Farrell achieved his 700th career win during the 2007-08 season, the same night that then-senior Ashton Gibbs broke Keven McDonald's all-time over 30-year-old scoring record of 1,774 points. Gibbs attended the University of Pittsburgh and saw considerable playing time as a freshman, including in the Elite Eight loss to Villanova University on March 28, 2009.[31] Farrell finished his coaching career in 2011 with 777 wins.[28]

Seton Hall Prep alumni — including Ira Bowman, Brevin Knight and Brandin Knight — have gone on to play in the National Basketball Association. Once known as a feeder school for the Seton Hall University basketball program, the school now sends players to a variety of universities. Alumni Ira Bowman (Auburn), Brandin Knight (Rutgers), and Marcus Toney-El (Fairleigh Dickinson) are all currently Division I assistant basketball coaches, and Michael Malone is the head coach of the NBA's Denver Nuggets.[32]


The lacrosse team won the Group IV state championship in 2004, defeating Christian Brothers Academy in the championship game.[33]


The soccer team won the 2005 North A state sectional championship with a 5-0 win over Don Bosco Preparatory High School. In 2007 the team achieved a number one statewide ranking from The Star-Ledger and a number five ranking in a national coaches' poll. The 2007 team won the North A state sectional championship with consecutive 3-2 wins over No. 1 ranked Don Bosco, and then the new No. 1 team and rival Delbarton in the North Jersey Final.[34] The team moved on to win the Non-Public A state championship with a 2-0 win over Christian Brothers Academy.[35] They finished the season at 22-1, with several school records: 16 shutouts, 22 wins, 95 goals.

In 2009, the Seton Hall Prep soccer won another state championship; defeating Christian Brothers Academy 1-0. SHP finished the season Number 1 in the state and Number 8 in the nation. In 2010, the Seton Hall Prep Soccer team was ranked Number 1 in the nation but failed to secure back to back championships.


Since the program's inception, the Pirates indoor and outdoor track teams have produced individuals and relay teams that consistently compete on the conference, state, and national level. A number of former Pirates have competed on the international level for the United States and Jamaica. The team has been crowned NJSIAA outdoor state champions six times, most recently in 2007.[36]


For decades, the Pirates have been among the elite of New Jersey high school hockey programs, along with long-standing rivalries with Bergen Catholic and Delbarton (which had even been mentioned in an episode of HBO's The Sopranos). Their home ice is South Mountain Arena at the Richard J. Codey Ice Rink in West Orange, New Jersey, the former practice facility of the NHL's New Jersey Devils. The Pirates have won the Gordon Cup, New Jersey's oldest hockey championship, nine times, first in 1978 and most recently in 2006.[37] Former coach Peter Herms, who had coached the team for 14 years until his resignation in 2010, was inducted into the inaugural class of the New Jersey High School Ice Hockey Hall of Fame. Herms, along with co-coach John Warchol (who is also a member of the inaugural class of the Hall of Fame), led Seton Hall to six Gordon Cups, four NJSIAA Non-Public titles, and three Tournament of Champions titles, which were won in 1998, 1999 and 2004.[38] The 1997-98 team was inducted into the New Jersey High School Ice Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.[39]


Swimming is arguably the Prep's most dominant sport. In 2019, Seton Hall won its 22nd consecutive Essex County Championship.[40] Since 1980, the swim team has won 27 out of a possible 28 county championships (there was no championship meet in 1984, and from 1987 to 1997, team scoring was not used, and thus a team champion was not named).[41] The Pirates have won a conference title every year since 1994, with two exceptions, 1997 and 2009.

Seton Hall Prep swimmers have been the recipient of the Cullen Jones Award, given annually to the most valuable swimmer at the Essex County Championships, six times since the award's creation in 2009. Roo Fenton (Class of '19) won the honor three times in a row from 2017 to 2019, making him the award's second three-time winner.[42]

Notable alumni[edit]

List of Seton Hall Preparatory School alumni


  1. ^ a b c d School data for Seton Hall Preparatory School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed October 20, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Seton Hall Preparatory School, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 9, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Seton Hall Preparatory School, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools. Accessed August 5, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Tuition, Seton Hall Preparatory School. Accessed June 10, 2019.
  5. ^ Essex County Catholic High Schools, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. Accessed August 13, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d Our History, Seton Hall Preparatory School. Accessed June 10, 2019.
  7. ^ Seton Hall Preparatory School Course Catalog 2019-2020, Seton Hall Preparatory School. Accessed June 10, 2019.
  8. ^ List of Member Schools, New Jersey Association of Independent Schools. Accessed August 13, 2017.
  9. ^ Teams, Seton Hall Preparatory School. Accessed June 10, 2019.
  10. ^ Our Mission, Seton Hall Preparatory School. Accessed June 10, 2019.
  11. ^ N. J. High School Team Champions 1956 – Present, New Jersey State Chess Federation. Accessed August 13, 2013.
  12. ^ Seton Hall Prep Network, Seton Hall Preparatory School. Accessed June 10, 2019.
  13. ^ [Seton Hall League Memberships – 2015-2016], New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 9, 2014.
  14. ^ Home Page, Iron Hills Conference, backed up by the Internet Archive as of February 2, 2011. Accessed December 3, 2014.
  15. ^ a b c d Football Tradition, Seton Hall Preparatory School Athletics. Accessed June 19, 2019.
  16. ^ Bliwise, Rick. Seton Hall Prep had special football team 40 years ago, Essex News Daily, November 21, 2016. Accessed June 19, 2019.
  17. ^ Seton Hall Prep Alumni Pro Stats, Pro Football Reference. Accessed June 19, 2019.
  18. ^ Reinhard, Paul. "Anything Is Possible For Jarrod", The Morning Call, July 30, 1991. Accessed October 24, 2011. "Well, by the time he graduated from Seton Hall Prep in West Orange, N.J., Johnson had blossomed into a 243-pound center. 'It's good I didn't gain another 100 pounds between my freshman and senior years in college,' he quipped yesterday during a telephone conversation. Johnson, an East Orange, N.J., native who as a young boy rooted for the Pittsburgh Steelers after watching them win Super Bowl IX, became an outstanding center at Lehigh University."
  19. ^ a b Baseball Tradition, Seton Hall Preparatory School Athletics. Accessed June 10, 2019.
  20. ^ Class of 2007 HS Top 2118 National Rankings, Perfect Game. Accessed June 10, 2019.
  21. ^ Hill, Ben. "Seton Hall Prep features top draft talent: Porcello, Danieli expected to be prominent selections", Major League Baseball., May 28, 2007. Accessed May 31, 2007. "Yet, in the northeast portion of the Garden State resides Seton Hall Prep, a Catholic boys school that currently fields what is widely considered to be the best high school team in the entire country.... This season's team is especially notable in that it includes four players who have earned Division I baseball scholarships, two of whom -- pitchers Rick Porcello and Evan Danieli -- are expected to be prominent selections in the First-Year Player Draft on June 7. Porcello, in fact, is the consensus pick as the top high school pitcher in the country, and possibly the best right-hander available in this year's draft pool.
  22. ^ Tigers sign Porcello, two other picks, Accessed June 10, 2019.
  23. ^ Matthews, Alan. "High School Top 50: May 28", Baseball America, May 28, 2007. Accessed June 6, 2007.
  24. ^ 2007 Baseball - North A, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 22, 2007.
  25. ^ 2007 Baseball - Non-Public Finals, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 22, 2007.
  26. ^ 2016 Awards Voting, Accessed June 10, 2019.
  27. ^ Baseball: Seton Hall Prep grad Matt O'Neill taken by Mets in MLB Draft, Accessed June 10, 2019.
  28. ^ a b c Basketball Tradition, Seton Hall Preparatory School Athletics. Accessed June 19, 2019.
  29. ^ 2005 Boys Basketball - Non-Public, North A, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 4, 2007.
  30. ^ 2005 Boys Basketball - Tournament of Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 1, 2007.
  31. ^ Winter Sports Action Archived 2008-07-25 at the Wayback Machine, Seton Hall Preparatory School. Accessed July 15, 2008.
  32. ^ Report: Nuggets hire Michael Malone as new head coach, Fox Sports. Accessed June 19, 2019.
  33. ^ History of the NJSIAA Boys' Lacrosse Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed February 1, 2017.
  34. ^ 2007 Boys Soccer - North A, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 14, 2007.
  35. ^ 2007 Boys Soccer - Non-Public Finals, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association and finished with a No. 5 National ranking. Accessed November 14, 2007.
  36. ^ Track - About, Seton Hall Prep Athletics. Accessed June 20, 2019.
  37. ^ NJSIAA Ice Hockey State Championship History, NJSIAA. Accessed June 20, 2019.
  38. ^ Bruno, Paul. "NJ boys ice hockey: Herms resigns as Seton Hall Prep coach", The Star-Ledger, July 22, 2010. Accessed November 7, 2017. "Seton Hall Prep coach Peter Herms, arguably the best ice hockey player ever to come out of the school, announced his resignation yesterday after 14 seasons as head coach at the West Orange school.... Named to The Star-Ledger's first All-State team as a sophomore in 1979, Herms was inducted into the inaugural class of the New Jersey High School Ice Hockey Hall of Fame in March. Herms, along with co-coach John Warchol, helped guide Seton Hall to six Gordon Cup championships, four NJSIAA Non-Public titles and three Tournament of Champions crowns (1998, '99 and 2004)."
  39. ^ Seton Hall Prep, 1997-98, New Jersey High School Ice Hockey Hall of Fame. Accessed June 20, 2019.
  40. ^ Ragozzino, Joe. Seton Hall Prep swim team captures SEC/Essex County Championships team title for 22nd straight year, Essex News Daily, January 22, 2019. Accessed June 20, 2019.
  41. ^ Past Essex County Champions, SEC/ECC Swimming Championships. Accessed June 20, 2019.
  42. ^ Cullen Jones Award, SEC/ECC Swimming Championships. Accessed June 20, 2019.

External links[edit]