Famous Stanners

 

Kevin Joyce, Class of 1969

 

Kevin Joyce was arguably Jack Curran's all-time best player. A leader on the court and in the locker room, Joyce led Molloy to the city title in 1969. By 1972, the Stanner great was named Captain of the 1972 Olympic Basketball Team, which was the youngest squad to ever represent the US in Olympic competition at that point. The team faced their athletic and political enemy, the Soviet Union, for the gold medal in men's basketball in September 1972. The Soviets proved to be the stiffest competitor the American team had ever faced. Trailing by five points at halftime, the U.S. deficit grew to 10 with under 10 minutes to play. A furious comeback aided by the play of Joyce shrunk the Soviet lead to one point with 38 seconds remaining. Trying to protect their lead, a Soviet cross-court pass was intercepted with less than 10 seconds to play. Fouled while hard driving to the basket with three seconds to play, the US sank both free throws, giving the team a 50-49 lead their first of the game. After the Soviets in-bounded the ball, the referees halted the game with one second remaining. The decision was made to put three seconds back on the clock. At issue was the Soviets' contention that they had signaled for a time-out between the two free throws. The game officials never acknowledged the time out, and thus the validity of whether a time-out was legally signaled for has divided passions on this game ever since. Today, Joyce works as a Director with Range Global LLC.


Vincent Piazza

 

This is one Stanner who has truly "made it big." Vincent Piazza, a native of Maspeth, Queens, has launched a very successful acting career working alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood. His earlier work, including roles on Law & Order, The Sopranos, Rescue Me, and Rocket Science (2007) served as a foot in the door and prepared him for what has become his most defining role. In 2010, Vincent arrived at a casting for a new HBO series. He sat down and was joined in the adjacent seat by none other than Steve Buschemi, a Hollywood veteran with an impressive resumé. Buschemi said, "I'm kinda nervous." Vincent asked why. "Because that's Martin Scorsese over there." When Vincent was called in for his audition, the executive producers, including Scorsese, saw something they liked in Piazza. As a result, he landed the role of Lucky Luciano on HBO's Boardwalk Empire. Since 2010, Vincent has appeared in every episode of the show, making a name for himself in Hollywood and setting himself up for bigtime roles in the future. Look for Vincent in the films Surviving Me and 3 Nights in the Desert in 2013. (IMDB.com)


Mike Baxter, Class of 2002

 

In 2010, Mike Baxter made history by becoming the first Stanner to make it to the major leagues. First appearing for the San Diego Padres, Baxter served as an outfielder and pinch hitter for the California club. 2011 proved to be an even more exciting year for Baxter, as he was signed by his hometown team, the New York Mets. Baxter's return to Flushing provided many notable moments, including becoming the first Stanner to homer in the major leagues (September 28, 2011), and the first to have not one, but two game winning walkoff hits (May 7, May 9, 2013). Perhaps no moment is more memorable than the spectacular catch he made on June 1st, 2012, robbing St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina of a hit while crashing into the left field wall. The catch turned out to be historic, as it would preserve what would become the Mets first no-hitter in team history. The catch did cost Baxter some playing time, as he missed several months when he dislocated his shoulder upon hitting the wall. Still, his actions proved he is a true team player. Baxter has since joined the Los Angeles Dodgers organization where he will continue to sharpen his skills and advance his career.


Russ Smith, Class of 2009

 

Russ Smith's junior year at the University of Louisville proved to be a memorable one. The Cardinals guard had another stellar season on the hardwood, posting 1,211 minutes, .414 field goal %, .804 free throw %, .328 3-point %, 132 rebounds, 116 assists, and 748 total points. Of course, the highlight of the season came on April 8th, 2013 when Russ helped Louisville clinch its 3rd NCAA Tournament Championship, becoming the first Stanner to accomplish the feat. Russ was also named a 2013 NCAA Division 1 All-American, recognizing his stellar play and noteworthy achievements. Russ dedicated many of his performances throughout the tournament to his mentor, Coach Jack Curran, who passed away during March Madness. Russ was quoted as saying, "Today is Coach Curran Day, and it will be for the rest of my life." Russ' season was followed by many members of the media as well as fans across the country. Having achieved fame at the college sports level, his signature smile became instantly recognizable on ESPN, in Sports Illustrated, and in dozens of newspapers. He was given the nickname "Russdiculous," and even became a popular trend on the social media site Twitter. Russ has quickly launched himself into the upper echelon of Jack Curran's all-time best players.


Hon. Charles J. Hynes, Class of 1952

 

Serving six terms since 1989, former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes has endured an inspiring journey. Hynes readily admits that his childhood was not always a happy one, and having witnessed violent and abusive crimes as a young boy, he eventually sought a career in bringing criminals to justice. A graduate of St. John’s University, Hynes worked through the ranks of the legal system for nearly two decades serving in positions such as Associate Attorney for the Legal Aid Society, Assistant District Attorney, Chief of the Rackets Bureau, Special State Prosecutor investigating nursing home fraud, head of his own State Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and even NYC Fire Commissioner. Hynes’ greatest work, however, has come as District Attorney of Kings County. The District Attorney gained early notoriety as he investigated the death of Michael Griffith, an African-American teenager who was the victim of a violent crime in Howard Beach. Having ensured the three defendants in the case all received homicide convictions, Hynes’ reputation as a public servant, with no tolerance for crime, spread throughout the city. Hynes would later write a book about this case called Triple Homicide. Though Hynes lost re-election in 2013, he remains passionate about his community and improving neighborhoods in Brooklyn.


Hon. Ray Kelly, Class of 1959

 

New York City's preceding Police Commissioner is also one of Molloy's most distinguished alumni. Kelly was the first person to serve as commissioner during two separate tenures. Formerly a Senior Managing Director of Global Corporate Security at Bear, Stearns & Co., Kelly served as Commissioner of the U.S. Customers Service. From 1996 to 1998, Kelly was Under Secretary for Enforcement at the U.S. Treasury Department. While there, he supervised teh departments enforcement bureaus: U.S. Customs, U.S. Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Training Center, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Kelly is also a decorated military man, having earned the rank of Colonel as a member of the US Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. His educational background, including St. Ann’s/Molloy, is stellar, having earned a B.B.A. from Manhattan College, a J.D. from St. John’s University, an LL.M. from NYU School of Law, and an M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School. All of this impressive experience has brought him to the present, where his leadership among New York City’s most important figures stands out as truly exemplary.


Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, Class of 2005

 

Rosalyn Gold-Onwude's amazing career started early. Her skills on the court were undeniable, becoming Captain and MVP of the Stanners as well as an All-American almost as quickly as she first arrived. Building on the promise she demonstrated at Molloy, Rosalyn earned a D1 scholarship to Stanford and made herself an impact player there immediately, helping to lead Stanford to three straight Final Four appearances. While many praised Ros’s fierce defense (she was the 2010 Pac-10 Co-Defender of the Year) and on-court leadership from the point, it may also be her resilience in rebounding from injury that served her best during her five years as a Cardinal. Of special significance, it was her Stanford squad that was the last to beat UCONN before the team’s legendary winning streak (ended, ironically enough, by Stanford as well). Her stats at Stanford speak for themselves: 3,358 minutes, .359 field goal %, .337 3-point %, .639 free throw %, 411 rebounds, 368 assists, and 766 total points in 148 games played. In 2011, Ros was inducted into the GCHSAA Hall of Fame, recognizing her wonderful abilities and her contributions to New York sports. In recent years, Ros has enjoyed a burgeoning broadcasting career as an analyst for NCAA women’s basketball with ESPN, MSG, and FOX SPORTS. Currently she is part of the Golden State Warriors broadcast team, handling live sideline reporting, produced TV segments, and analysis. She is a true ambassador for Molloy, Stanford, and for women’s basketball.


Tom Westman, Class of 1982

 

Thirty-nine days, twenty Survivors, two tribes, dozens of lies, a laid-down torch, an incredible winning streak and finally, one Sole Survivor. Tom Westman, the 41-year-old NYC firefighter from Sayville, New York, dominated the challenges on the CBS reality competition Survivor: Palau (2005) and proved a major force around the camp to secure the jury vote that named him Sole Survivor and winner of the $1 million prize. Displaying his strength and endurance from the beginning, Westman neither hid who he was nor deceived any of his tribe-mates on his way to becoming Sole Survivor. It was as "clean cut" a victory as one could earn. Brother-in-law, fellow Stanner, and current Molloy President Richard Karsten ’81 said, "If I didn't watch the whole process unfold, I wouldn't have believed it. But it was so wonderful to watch Tom compete under the umbrella of honesty and integrity to become the ultimate Survivor. This was a Survivor "first" as well. We are all still very proud of him."


Lou Carnesecca, Class of 1943

 

After graduating from St. Ann's Academy, Lou Carnesecca attended St. John's University where he would eventually earn a Master's Degree in educational guidance. These two institutions proved to have a lasting impact on Carnesecca, and he reciprocated by acting as Head Coach at both schools during his professional career. In the Fall of 1950, Carnesecca began his coaching career at St. Ann's. During his tenure, his alma mater won three National Catholic High School Championships in basketball and one in baseball. He returned to St. John’s in 1957, handing over the head coaching job at Archbishop Molloy High School to Jack Curran. In his return to St. John's, Carnesecca served as an assistant to Coach Joe Lapchick. In 1965, when Lapchick retired, Carnesecca was selected to replace him as Head Coach for basketball. In 1970, Carnesecca left St. John’s for three years to coach the New York Nets of the American Basketball Association. Under his leadership, the Nets enjoyed three consecutive trips to the playoffs, reaching the championship finals in 1972. Carnesecca would return to St. John’s in 1973 and bring its basketball program to prominence, amassing 526 wins until his retirement in 1992. In 2004, the university's Alumni Hall was renamed Carnesecca Arena.


Louis E. Willett, Class of 1963

 

PFC Louis Willet was a 21 year old rifleman and a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division in 1967 during the Vietnam War. Stationed in Kontum Province, Private Willet’s Company was conducting a security sweep when enemy forces opened fire, pinning down the US soldiers. Putting his own safety aside, Private Willet rose up to distract the enemy, drawing heavy gunfire. His heroics ultimately cost him his life as he would fall in battle, but he did not die in vain. The US Army would later recognize Private Willet’s bravery by posthumously awarding him with the Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the US Armed Forces.  In anticipation of Memorial Day, Mr. Jeff Gallagher's history class visits Willet's portrait in the Stanner Hall of Fame every year, placing a single rose underneath his name. The class acknowledges Private Willett's Medal of Honor citation and prays for him and his lasting memory.


David Caruso, Class of 1974

 

One of Molloy's most recognizable alumni, actor and producer David Caruso has enjoyed a lengthy television and film career spanning over three decades. Caruso's "big break" came in 1993 when he portrayed Detective John Kelly in the hit TV series N.Y.P.D. Blue. Caruso's time on the show was short-lived, however, as he left voluntarily to pursue a more serious film career. Caruso would go on to be cast in Kiss of Death (1995, Samuel L. Jackson and Nicholas Cage) and Jade (1995), but returned to television for a brief run on CBS as star and executive producer of Michael Hayes (1997). He appeared in two more major films, Proof of Life (2000, Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan) and Session 9 (2001) before landing his defining role. In 2002, Caruso was cast to play the part of Lieutenant Horatio Caine in the CBS crime drama CSI: Miami. Caruso became well known for his character's humorous one-liners and signature sunglasses, and eventually his portrayal of Caine would become a popular Internet joke circulated around social media. The series ran for 10 seasons before ending on April 8th, 2012. Caruso is a native of Forest Hills Gardens.


Charles Camarda, Class of 1970

 

After graduating from Molloy, Charles Camarda received a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. He would later earn a Master of Science degree in engineering science from George Washington University in 1980 followed by a doctorate in aerospace engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1990. With stellar credentials and a passion for science and learning, Dr. Camarda was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April 1996. Dr. Camarda reported to the NASA Johnson Space Center later that Summer. After completing two years of training and evaluation, he qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. In 2005, Dr. Camarda would serve on the Return To Flight mission aboard Shuttle Discovery, during which the crew tested and evaluated new equipment as well as new procedures for flight safety, shuttle inspection, and repairs. The flight provided NASA with unprecedented information on the condition of an orbiter in space.


Joseph Browne, Class of 1964

 

Joe Browne first joined the NFL as a college intern in 1965. After briefly serving in the United States Marine Corps, Browne returned to the NFL in 1970 and never looked back. Since then, he has been appointed to numerous key front office positions and has made countless important decisions for the league. Over the course of his career working for the NFL, Browne's responsibilities have included generating publicity for the Super Bowl in its early days, serving as the first-ever vice president of communications under Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, then a senior vice president, an executive vice president, and most recently a senior advisor to Commissioner Roger Goodell. In this role, Browne remains involved with NFL Congressional efforts as well as local legislative matters in NFL markets. Browne is currently the longest tenured NFL employee. He is also very active on Twitter, relaying various NFL news items and general commentary to over 14,000 followers.


Kenny Smith, Class of 1983

 

Kenny Smith was one of Jack Curran's guys. A leader, "a gopher," and an all-time great, Smith's cherished years with Curran set him up for what would be a wonderful professional playing career. At North Carolina, Smith established the assists record with 768, including 86 assists in NCAA Tournament play. In 1988, Smith was named a member of the NBA All Rookie Team after averaging 13.8 points and 7.1 assists per game with the Sacramento Kings. Later with the Houston Rockets, Smith scored a career-high 41 points against the LA Lakers on December 26, 1993. The highlight of his career, however, was still to come. Fulfilling a life-long dream, Smith captured the NBA title with the Rockets not once, but twice, cutting the net in consecutive seasons in 1994 and 1995. In all, Smith played nine seasons in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks. He is Houston's all-time leader in three-point field goal percentage at .407, and holds the best field goal percentage of all NBA guards for the 1992-93 season. He is the only Stanner to ever win the NBA championship. Today, Kenny "The Jet" Smith is an Emmy award winning NBA studio analyst and host, most recently working with Turner Sports and CBS. Follow Kenny on Twitter @TheJetOnTNT.


Brian Winters, Class of 1970

 

Brian Winters is a two-time NBA all-star (Milwaukee Bucks) and the former head coach of the Golden State Warriors and the Indiana Fever. After a great rookie season with the Lakers in 1975, Winters became an all-star after arriving in Milwaukee during the 1976 season as one of four players exchanged with the Lakers for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Winters was named an all-star again in 1978 while with the Bucks. In all, he spent eight seasons in Milwaukee, leading the Bucks to six postseason berths. One of the leading playmakers and shooters in Bucks history, he still is third in franchise assists (2,479), fifth in games played (582) and steals (718), and seventh in scoring (9,743). He averaged 16.7 points during his eight seasons in Milwaukee, and 16.2 over a nine-year career.  Upon retiring in 1983, he became then just the third Bucks players to have his number retired, raising his No. 32 on Oct. 28, 1983 in a Milwaukee win over Indiana. Winters is currently an assistant coach for the Charlotte Bobcats of the NBA.


Brian Scolaro, Class of 1991

 

Molloy funny man Brian Scolaro began his career in New York City as a stand-up comedian and actor. After performing for a brief period, Scolaro was invited to appear at the prestigious Just For Laughs festival in Montreal. Shortly after the festival, Brian was hired to star in the comedy pilot Everything But The Girl starring Tiffani Amber-Thiessen. When the show was not picked up, Scolaro joined the cast of the comedy series Three Sisters. Scolaro would also find himself on the Fox comedy Stacked alongside Pamela Anderson. More recently, Scolaro enjoyed a cameo during the 5th season of AMC Network’s award winning series Mad Men, a period drama depicting professionals in advertising in the 1960s. Brian took on the role of the character Alex Polito in several episodes. Since then, Scolaro has appeared in episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, Sullivan & Son, and Kroll Show.


Dick Brennan, Class of 1979

 

Appearing on local news telecasts for many years, journalist Dick Brennan has made a name, and a voice for himself in the New York metropolitan area. A graduate of Fordham University in the Bronx, Brennan worked as a field reporter for FOX 5 News before jumping to CBS News in February 2013. Brennan's body of work also includes news writing and producing (WWOR-TV, WNBC-TV), radio hosting (WVOX, AM1460), and anchoring (UPN-9). Now a political reporter for CBS, Brennan's time on the clock sees him interviewing major players both locally and nationally. He also presides as an anchor for the CBS affiliate WLNY TV-1055's News at Nine.