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Long Beach Poly Obituary St. Anthony

OBITUARY: Long Beach Football Legends Dave Levy, B.I. Mais Pass Away After Long, Full Lives

The Long Beach football community lost a pair of legends last month with the passing of Long Beach Poly alum Dave Levy and St. Anthony alum BI Mais. Both lived long, full lives that were enriched by decades-long association with the sports they loved, and both will leave a hole in the local sports community that they remained involved in throughout their lives.

Dave Levy (1932-2023)

Daver Levy passed away on November 15 at 91 years old, having lived perhaps the most unique football life of any Long Beach product.

Levy came of age in Long Beach during World War II and attended Long Beach Poly in the late 1940s, helping to build Poly’s campus as a part-time construction worker during the school’s expansion post-World War II.

As the coach at his alma mater, Levy led the Jackrabbits to back-to-back CIF championships in 1958 and 1959, two of the most dominant seasons ever, routinely playing in front of 10-15,000 fans. With the most talented backfield in the nation that included stars like Dee Andrews, Willie Brown, Willie Martin, Lonzo Irvin, Harvey Crow, and lineman Mike Giers, Levy always downplayed his role as a coach.

“When you win like we did, it’s not coaching, it’s players,” he said in an interview. “I ran a good program, but the players were there.” Levy was still in his mid-20s while coaching at his alma mater.

Levy left Poly after 1959 to coach at USC, where he was a legendary assistant under John McKay for four national championships. He went on to 17 years coaching in the NFL with the Chargers and Lions.

Levy remained an active part of the local football community as a Century Club Hall of Famer, and would occasionally stop by Poly football games in addition to the Century Club’s annual banquet. According to a USC press release about him, Levy “was regarded as one of the brightest and most innovative assistant coaches in USC football history, as well as one of its most quick-witted.”

He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015, and is also a member of LBCC’s Hall of Champions. Levy played football and ran track at LBCC and played football and baseball at UCLA.

After leaving USC’s coaching ranks, he coached with the Chargers for nine years, and was offensive coordinator under the legendary Don Coryell, and coached with the Colts. After retiring from the NFL he coached in the XFL and in high school as an assistant, most recently at Harvard-Westlake.

Levy is survived by his wife, Barrie, two sons, John Levy and Robert Bray, two stepdaughters, Laurie Levin and Ariel Levin and her wife Karen Cearley, and his 101-year-old aunt, Clara Lowry.

B.I. Mais (1931-2023)

B.I. Mais was one of the finest football players to ever come out of St. Anthony, but that doesn’t do this legend justice.

Mais was the starting quarterback for the St. Anthony CIF champions in 1948, the most landmark title in school history since it came before the CIF had begun sorting smaller schools into different divisions. He went on to play at Cal and started for two years in 1951 and 1952, and was co-captain along with John Olszewski, his high school teammate.

A veteran of the US Army, Mais returned to Long Beach with his wife Jane, his high school sweetheart. Their seven children all graduated from St. Anthony, and Mais worked at IBM for 31 years, before working as a director of an investment service for another three decades.

Mais was known as a Saints superfan and he was a popular figure at the school’s events for his entire life.

When he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame, he was reflective of a life lived in his hometown.

“What this school has meant to me … what few successes I’ve had are thanks to the nuns who taught me in grammar school, the brothers in high school,” he said. “The life lessons you never forget, I learned those right here in Long Beach.”

Mais is survived by his brother, Kenny Mais (Barbara), and sister-in-law, Liz Kier, his children: Mike (Mary Jo), David (Sharon), Pat (Kathie), Steve, Kathleen, Chris (Lisa), and Susie, as well as 20 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.