Pillar of volleyball community headlines Alle-Kiski Valley Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2024

Saturday, December 23, 2023 | 11:01 AM

One of the sadder days in the Alle-Kiski Valley was Feb. 22, 2016.

Ellen Mangus Toy — educator, girls volleyball coach and a star in that sport during her playing days — died after a years-long battle with stomach cancer.

A charity foundation and an outdoor volleyball court in Vandergrift have been established in her honor.

On May 4, 2024, Toy will be posthumously inducted into the Alle-Kiski Valley Sports Hall of Fame.

Toy will be among eight inductees and two vintage teams that will be part of the hall’s 53rd induction banquet at the Pittsburgh Shriner Center in Harmar.

Her husband, Tim Toy, will accept Ellen’s induction. Before her death, she and Tim established the We Serve First Foundation to help young girls with financial struggles to achieve volleyball success on the court and in the classroom.

Here are the other 2024 inductees:

Brice Flenory

The 1998 Valley High School graduate was a three-year basketball starter for the Vikings and is the fifth-leading career scorer in school history. He played professionally with the Pittsburgh Xplosion and the Pittsburgh Phantoms and is now a successful coach for Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Scott Higgins

A football standout for Riverview in the late 1970s, Higgins also lettered in basketball and baseball for the Raiders. At Westminster, he had 31 career pass interceptions and was a three-time NAIA All-American.

Fred Paganelli

A baseball standout for Har-Brack, the Lower Burrell American Legion 1965 state champions and Point Park, Paganelli was a successful coach for Highlands. His Golden Rams won five section titles and had four second-place finishes in 15 seasons.

Mark Perry

The 1982 Springdale graduate twice was named all-WPIAL in soccer but really has made his mark in coaching. Perry’s teams have made the WPIAL playoffs in 36 of his 39 seasons at Hampton, Fox Chapel, Central Valley and Seneca Valley, and he has more than 600 career victories.

Anthony Recchia

While at Kiski Area, he was All-Foothills Conference in football and lettered in track and basketball. He walked on at Pitt as a punter and soon earned a scholarship, punting in three New Year’s bowl games, and was a four-time special teams player of the game.

Melissa Baustert Schaeffer

Earned medals in track and cross country at Kiski Area and Carnegie Mellon. Baustert Schaeffer holds 11 track and field school records at CMU and coached cross country at Kiski Area and Freeport.

Shane Bartha Toland

The 1991 Apollo-Ridge graduate was a key member of the last WPIAL girls basketball team — as of this date — to win a title, scoring 24 of her team’s 54 points that day. Bartha Toland set seven school records while with the Vikings, including career records for points, assists and steals.


For the first time, the local hall of fame will admit teams.

• The 1946 WPIAL champion Ken High Red Raiders football team. Melvin Thrower, son of Willie Thrower, will accept induction.

• The 1979 Valley Vikings state championship boys basketball team. Ron “Mack” McNabb will accept induction.

High school athletes

The local hall of fame and Trib Live will recognize nearly 10 local student-athletes, including Valley News Dispatch football players of the years Derek Burk of Deer Lakes and Luke Bombalski of Highlands and soccer players Billy Lawrence of Springdale and Lola Abraham of Riverview.

If you’re going

Alle-Kiski Valley Sports Hall of Fame 53rd induction banquet

Saturday, May 4, 2024, 7 p.m.

Pittsburgh Shriners Center, Harmar

Tickets: $40. Sales will begin in February at a date to be determined.

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