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Famous Stanners

 
Otoja Abit, Class of 2003
Actor/Director
 
Look away from your television for just a moment and you may miss the next big performance by Otoja Abit. The former St. John’s basketball star turned director / stage and film actor has landed in the credits of numerous accredited productions. Since 2014, Otoja has portrayed a variety of roles in prime time television series including The Blacklist (2014), The Slap (2015), and The Defenders (2017), as well as in films including Dirty Shield (2014)The Humbling (2014), Kensho at the Bedfellow (2017), and Romeo and Juliet in Harlem (2017). In 2011, Otoja joined the crew of That Championship Season, a Broadway revival starring Brian Cox, Jim Gaffigan, Chris Noth, Phil Romano, Jason Patric, and Kiefer Sutherland. Otoja served as assistant director to veteran director Gregory Mosher. When not working on a television series, film, or theater production, Otoja can occasionally be found providing college basketball analysis on SNY or cameos in commercials. For more on Otoja and his work visit IMDB.com.
 

 
 
 
(Photo courtesy of "Theo & Juliet")
 
 
 
Mike Baxter, Class of 2002
Former Pro Baseball Player

In 2010, Mike Baxter made history by becoming the first Stanner to appear on a Major League Baseball roster. 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 tour in 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 walk-off hits (May 7, May 9, 2013). Perhaps no moment is more memorable than the spectacular catch he made on June 1st, 2012, when Baxter robbed St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina of a hit while crashing into the left field wall at Citi Field. The catch turned out to be historic, as it would help preserve what would eventually become the first no-hitter in Mets history (thrown by Johan Santana). The catch did cost Baxter playing time, as he missed several months when he dislocated his shoulder due to his impact with the wall. Still, his actions proved he is a true team player. Baxter later joined the Los Angeles Dodgers organization where he split time between the major leagues and AAA. He also spent time as a Chicago Cub in 2015. Baxter has not played since 2015, however he continues to call the sport he loves a career as a talent scout.
 

 
 
 
 
 
Dick Brennan, Class of 1979
Journalist, TV News Anchor

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.
 
 

 
 
(Photo courtesy of Dick Brennan)
 
 
 
 
 
Joe Browne, Class of 1964
Longtime NFL Executive

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 was a charter member of the Board of Directors of USA Football, has been honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Pat Tillman Foundation and the Advisory Board for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Browne ended his run as the longest tenured NFL employee in March 2016. He remains active on Twitter (@JBeOnTheHill), sharing various NFL news items and general commentary with over 15,000 followers.
 

 
 
 
 
 
Dr. Charles J. Camarda, Class of 1970
NASA Astronaut

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.
 

 
 
 
 
 
Lou Carnesecca Class of 1943
Head Coach, Men's College Basketball and Baseball
 

Born January 5, 1925, Lou Carnesecca was raised on Manhattan's east side, where for many years his father owned and operated Carnesecca's Italian Delicatessen. He attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help grammar school and graduated from St. Ann's Academy in 1943. From 1943-46 he served in the U.S. Coast Guard, Pacific Theatre of Operations, in World War II.

Carnesecca enrolled at St. John's University in 1946 and played in three games on the 1946-47 JV basketball team. However, Carnesecca's athletic talents were better realized on the baseball diamond where for four years he achieved over a .300 batting average as a utility infielder. He was a member of St. John's first College World Series team in 1949 under Coach Frank McGuire.

In the fall of 1950, Lou Carnesecca returned to St. Ann's Academy to begin his coaching career. In his return he taught health, hygiene and civics and continued to attend St. John's for a Master's Degree in educational guidance. During his tenure as coach, St. Ann's won three National Catholic High School championships in basketball and one in baseball. After coaching at the newly built Archbishop Molloy High School for just one year, Carnesecca passed the torch to friend and future legend Jack Curran before heading back to St. John's University in 1957 to serve as an assistant to Coach Joe Lapchick. In 1965, when Lapchick retired, Carnesecca took over as head coach.

In 1970 Lou left St. John's for three years to coach the New York Nets of the American Basketball Association. In his short tenure in the professional coaching ranks, he posted a 114-138 record and took the Nets to the playoffs each year, reaching the finals of the league championship in 1972. Lou Carnesecca returned once again to St. John's in 1973, where he continued to keep the St. John's name quite prominent in the ranks of collegiate basketball for decades until his retirement.

His endeavors in international basketball have earned him the respect of coaches and players worldwide and he is thought by many to be "Basketball's Ambassador to the World." In 1989 he directed the East all-stars that participated in the Japan's Aloha Classic to the tournament title. He traveled to Yugoslavia in 1989 to scout the European Championships with George Raveling.

In 1982, Lou Carnesecca coached the BIG EAST team that toured Spain and Yugoslavia. That same year he coached a team made up of BIG EAST all-stars that toured Angola. The 1985 Redmen team competed during the summer in Spain and Italy faring well against numerous European national teams. Able to communicate in many languages, Lou Carnesecca has conducted clinics in schools in Spain, Italy, France, Yugoslavia, Portugal, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Greece, Japan, and Monserrat. He is chairman of the International Basketball Committee of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and is a member of the NABC Executive Board. It is not uncommon to have his practice sessions attended by visiting foreign coaches and at times his office rivals the United Nations General Assembly.

In 2004, St. John's Alumni Hall was renamed Carnesecca Arena. Today, the arena not only pays tribute to the coaching great, but it hosts many of the Red Storm athletic programs.


 
(Photo courtesy of St. John's University Athletics
 
 
 
David Caruso, Class of 1974
Actor

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 has not appeared in any film or television projects since the conclusion of CSI, however he has found joy in art, creating and selling original pieces via his website. Caruso is a native of Forest Hills Gardens.
 

 
 
 
 
Chris Distefano, Class of 2002
Comedian, Actor
 
Chris Distefano is an actor, writer, and comedian splitting time between the coasts. Chris has performed stand-up comedy on The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Comedy Central as well as in some of the most highly regarded comedy clubs in the country. He has also appeared on MTV. In Benders, which aired on IFC and is now available on Netflix, Chris portrayed Anthony Pucello, an average guy with an obsession for hockey that doesn't quite match his skills on the ice. Chris currently has other TV work in development too. “I feel zero anxiety on stage. If people are laughing, that’s how I get clarity. It makes every day feel like Sunday morning for me,” said Chris. Working at the Comedy Cellar and other well-known clubs, Chris has learned from some of the most successful actors and comedians in the world. “Louis C.K. told me ‘Fame is fleeting. It comes and goes no matter how high you are. Don’t get stuck on chasing fame. Chase the art.’ Now I chase the art. Making a living is one thing, but you always have to go back to your art. That’s what all long-lasting comedians do. Stand-up comedy has plenty of highs and lows, but it’s something that works for me, and I love it.” Chris has many upcoming stand-up shows on the road. Find out if he’s performing in your town at ChrisDComedy.com or follow Chris on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
 

 
(Photo Courtesy of Chris Distefano)
 
 
 
 
Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, Class of 2005
NBA Reporter & Analyst

Rosalyn Gold-Onwude's amazing career in the spotlight started in college. 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 unique abilities and her contributions to New York sports. In recent years, Ros has enjoyed a successful broadcasting career as a TV analyst for NCAA women’s basketball with ESPN, MSG, and FOX SPORTS. Notably, Ros was part of the Golden State Warriors broadcast team, handling live sideline reporting, produced TV segments, and analysis. Her tenure with the team just happened to coincide with their three straight NBA Finals appearances, including two championships. As of fall 2017, Ros is now making her mark at Turner Sports in Atlanta. She also contributed to NCAA March Madness TV coverage in spring 2018. All told, Ros is a true ambassador for Molloy, Stanford, and for women’s basketball.
 

 
 
(Photo courtesy of Rosalyn Gold-Onwude)
 
 
 
 
Hon. Charles J. Hynes, Class of 1952
Former Brooklyn District Attorney

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.
 

 
 
 
 
 
Kevin Joyce, Class of 1969
US Olympian

Kevin Joyce is regarded as one of the late Jack Curran's all-time best basketball players. An extremely talented athlete, and a leader on the court and in the locker room, Joyce was a key contributor when Molloy captured the coveted City Championship in 1969. In his college years, Joyce continued to play ball and to grow immensely as a player. By 1972, Joyce, already a Stanner great, was named Captain of the US Olympic Basketball Team, which at the time was the youngest squad to ever represent our nation in Olympic competition. Joyce and his fellow Americans faced off against the polarizing Soviet Union for the gold medal in men's basketball that September. 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 reduced the Soviet lead to one point with 38 seconds remaining. In an attempt to protect their lead, a Soviet player's 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. Regardless, Joyce's place in basketball history is well-regarded. He is considered to be one of New York City's all-time great high school players. Today, Joyce works as a Director with Range Global LLC.
 

 
 
 
 
Hon. Ray Kelly, Class of 1959
Former NYC Police Commissioner

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. Kelly is currently Vice Chairman at K2 Intelligence. 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. Kelly's impressive career has brought him to the present, where his leadership among New York City’s most important figures stands out as truly exemplary. In March 2017, Kelly joined his son, journalist Greg Kelly, along with about 100 Stanners at a special networking event hosted at RFR Realty LLC in Manhattan. The event helped kickoff Molloy's 125th anniversary celebration. At the event, Kelly expressed his fondness for St. Ann's and Molloy. "When I think back, I received a tremendous education - a foundation both academically and in terms of Catholic teaching and morality. I always appreciated that, and what I see going on at the school now, with all the new facilities and upgrades, makes me proud. In my mind, Molloy is one of the top high schools in the country."
 

 
(Photo by Kit Defever)
 
 
 
 
Jim Larrañaga, Class of 1967
Head Coach, Men's College Basketball
 

James "Jim" Larrañaga started his athletic career as a stellar basketball player at Molloy. Playing under the guidance of Coach Jack Curran, Larrañaga developed a passion for the sport that would stay with him throughout his life. Larrañaga accepted his first head coaching position in 1977 with American International, a Division II program in Springfield, Mass. Taking over a team that had suffered through five consecutive losing seasons prior to his arrival, Larrañaga turned AIC into a winning program in his first year and compiled a 28-25 mark in two seasons. Later, Larrañaga made an immediate impact upon his arrival at Bowling Green in 1986-87. The Falcons were the nation's most improved team under a first-year head coach that took over a program with a losing record, posting a 15-14 record for an eight-game improvement over the previous season.

In his 22nd season as a collegiate head coach, Larrañaga became the Colonial Athletic Association’s all time leader in wins, and the first coach at a mid-major school to take his team to the Final Four in 27 years. When things were finished, Larrañaga led George Mason to a school record in wins, the school’s first-ever national ranking, their first-ever appearance in the top 10, and the school's first-ever wins over top 10 teams.

Larrañaga, who earned over 166 wins in nine years at George Mason, became the Patriots' all-time leader in men's basketball victories with his 131st win as a coach on January 22, 2005 when the Patriots won 77-58 at arch-rival James Madison. He became the CAA's all-time leader in wins on February 4, 2006 when the Patriots defeated UNC Wilmington. His CAA record is 112-58. Larrañaga accomplished many of the same things in his 11 years at Bowling Green State University from 1986-97 and in two years at American International College from 1977-79. In 22 years as a head coach, he has a career record of 364-274, earning his 300th coaching victory in George Mason's third game of the 2003-04 campaign - a 92-83 victory at Iona on Nov. 29.

The remarkable turnaround at George Mason began just two years into Larrañaga's tenure. A 9-18 record in his first year with the Patriots in 1997-98 drew plaudits from knowledgeable basketball people who realized the program was headed in the right direction. George Mason was 19-11 overall and a school-best 13-3 in the CAA in 1998-99, making a 10-game improvement over the previous season. The Patriots won their first-ever conference regular season championship and their second CAA Tournament title to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The performance by the Patriots earned numerous honors for Larrañaga as he was named Coach of the Year by the CAA and in the NABC District 4, and he was selected state Coach of the Year by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

In April 2011, Larrañaga accepted the position of head coach at the University of Miami, ending his long and successful tenure at George Mason. Larrañaga coached The Hurricanes to the ACC Tournament Title - the first in the program's history - with an 87-77 win over North Carolina in 2013. He was also voted AP Coach of the Year that season. His overall record with Miami is 161-79, including two NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances and an NIT Final Round appearance.

In 2012, Larrañaga was inducted into both the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame and the CHSAA Hall of Fame for his outstanding body of work in professional sports and his ties to New York City athletics.


 
 
 
 
William Morrissey, Class of 2005
Professional Wrestler
 
Classmates of William Morrissey may not recognize their old Stanner pal these days. The 7 foot, 276 lb Morrissey is known across the globe as his alter ego, Colin "Big Cass" Cassady, a superstar with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Morrissey started his wrestling career by securing a roster spot with NXT, which functions as WWE's minor leagues. He gained enough notoriety while with NXT that ESPN featured him in an E:60 documentary. ESPN told the story of Morrissey's rise to wrestling glory, which includes his days playing basketball and studying in a pre-med program at NYU. Despite his academic standing and potential to pursue another sport, Morrissey has always drawn to the squared circle. “Always in the back of my mind, I wanted to be in the WWE,” Morrissey says in the interview. He also explains that the inspiration for his loudmouth "Big Cass" persona comes from growing up in New York City.
 
In other media, Morrissey has spoken highly of his Molloy days in interviews, in particular in an August 2016 Times Ledger article saying, “Molloy was awesome. I was in Catholic school my entire life up until college and that’s a blessing – it taught me a lot of life lessons that I carry with me to this day.” 
 
In what may be a Stanner first, Morrissey appeared on WWE’s Wrestlemania Pay-Per-View in a tag-team match on April 2, 2017. 
 
 

 
 
Vincent Piazza
Actor

This is one Stanner who has truly "made it big." Vincent Piazza, a native of Maspeth, Queens, has established a successful acting career while 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 his style. As a result, he landed the role of Lucky Luciano on HBO's eventual hit Boardwalk Empire. Vincent appeared in every episode of the series, making a name for himself in Hollywood and setting himself up for numerous film roles in subsequent years. Vincent's recent film and television credits include: 3 Nights in the Desert (2014), Jersey Boys (2014), The Wannabe (2015), The Girl Who Invented Kissing (2017), Never Here (2017), and The Passage (2018). Learn more at IMDB.com.
 

 
 
 
 
Kenny "The Jet" Smith, Class of 1983
2-Time NBA Champion, NBA Analyst

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.
 

 
 
 
 
 
Russ Smith, Class of 2009
NCAA Champion, Louisville Cardinals (2013)

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 Twitter. It's safe to say Russ secured his spot in the upper echelon of Jack Curran's all-time best players.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Robert Stone, Class of 1955
Author
 
Robert Stone had attended St. Ann’s Academy for several years in the 1950’s before leaving the school prior to graduation. He would have been a member of our Class of 1955. After leaving St. Ann’s, Robert found his life's calling through his writing. He would go on to become a reknowned and respected novelist. His first novel, A Hall of Mirrors, was published in 1966 and preceded Dog Soldiers (1974), A Flag for Sunrise (1981), Children of Light (1986), Outerbridge Reach (1992), Damascus Gate (1998), Bay of Souls (2003), and Death of the Black-Haired Girl (2013). He also wrote short stories, non-fiction pieces, and screenplays. Two of his works, the aforementioned A Flag for Sunrise, and a short story, Bear and His Daughter, were both finalists for the Pulitizer Prize. Stone was also a multiple-time finalist and winner of the National Book Award and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. His work often featured action, adventure, political unrest, nautical themes, and dark humor – much of which was inspired by his own tumultuous experiences. In the later stages of his career he taught creative writing at Johns Hopkins and Yale, and also served as the endowed chair in the English department at Texas State University-San Marcos. He later relocated to Key West, Florida, where he spent the remainder of his life. Upon his passing, the New York Times published a full page obituary detailing his life and accomplishments. He is survived by his wife Janice and their children, Deirdre and Ian.
 

 
 
 
Robert Stone pictured far left in 1954 Yearbook.
 
 
 
Tom Westman, Class of 1982
Winner of Survivor: Palau (2005)

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."
 

 
 
 
 
 
PFC Louis E. Willett, Class of 1963
Medal of Honor Recipient (Posthumously)

On February 15, 2017, Molloy recognized the 50th anniversary of the passing of PFC Louis Willett, Class of 1963, who displayed heroism and bravery beyond measure while in battle in South Vietnam. On February 15, 1967, PFC Willett was mortally wounded while protecting the other members of his platoon from heavy enemy fire. PFC Willett was later posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, which is the military's highest honor. He remains the only Stanner to receive this impressive distinction. The following is an excerpt from a piece written by Ret. US Navy Capt. Larry Seible '63:
 

"It’s hard to believe that our friend, fellow classmate, and Stanner was killed 50 years ago, 15 February 1967, in Vietnam. PFC Louis Willett, a most distinguished Molloy graduate of 1963, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1968. Here is the story of Louis’ heroic actions in that battle.

As with all major traumatic events in a person’s life, every soldier who was present in Landing Zone (LZ) 501N in the republic of South Vietnam on the morning of February 15, 1967 can tell you exactly what he was doing when the first shots rang out and exactly how they reacted. Experiences like this are forever seared into a person’s mind. For the men of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, their day of reckoning had begun.

Early in the morning, PFC Louis Willett was on a security patrol when his squad encountered a large North Vietnamese enemy force. They were immediately pinned down by overwhelming fire power from the heavily camouflaged, prepared forces. The intensity of the enemy fire would not allow the squad to return fire or commence retreating. PFC Willett, with complete disregard for his own life, rose to his feet and by expert use of fire and movement gained a position affording him a clear field of fire on enemy positions. Placing highly effective fire upon the enemy, PFC Willett suppressed the enemy sufficiently to allow his company to reorganize and begin movement toward the perimeter.

The squad leader directed PFC Willett to return to the squad’s position. PFC Willett, realizing that his position was vital to the safe withdrawal of his squad, chose to remain in his position. The enemy, realizing that their position was untenable as long as PFC Willett remained in that location, directed their attention on his position. PFC Willett fell with multiple wounds and the full force of enemy weapons was brought to bear on the squad once again."

 
 
 
Brian Winters, Class of 1970
NBA All-Star

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.