Haldane Athletic Hall of Fame
Congratulations to the 2021 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees.
- Peter Hoffmann '15
- Alexandra Monteleone '15
- Kelly Vahos '15
- Girls' Soccer Team '14
- Tom Nastasi '01
- James Budney '74
- Coach Robert Nappi
- Athletic Director and Coach Ralph Paonessa
- Football Team '45
- Roger "Hoot" Gibson '46
Peter Hoffmann was one of the most successful student athletes to ever come out of Haldane. He was a three sport athlete who played varsity soccer, basketball and lacrosse. He was a great teammate, leader, and competitor with a work ethic that was one of a kind. Peter had many great qualities, but above all, his respect for the game, his opponents, officials and fans throughout his career was amazing to watch.
Peter’s career at Haldane is most remembered by his accomplishments on the basketball court where he led the varsity team for four years. However, he played soccer where he was a key contributor who earned All League honors on route to winning the Section 1 Class C Championship in 2013. On the lacrosse field he had 110 goals and 90 assists, earning him All League honors as a member of one of the best lacrosse teams to come out of Haldane.
Peter was a four year starter on the varsity basketball team and a 1,000-point scorer. During his junior and senior years, Peter led the Blue Devils to a record of 33 and 12, winning back-to-back sectional championships in 2014 and 2015, during which he earned All-Section honors both years. His senior year he earned a trip to the state final four in Glens Falls which was the second appearance in school history for the boys basketball program. His senior year he was the Class C MVP. He was also selected to the All-State Tournament Team and earned first-team All-State honors. Watching Peter play was just as impressive as the accolades that he received.
Peter went on to play at Hamilton College in the NESCAC, where he was the first men’s basketball player to collect the prestigious Riffle Award since 2004. He helped lead the Continentals to a record of 65-19, and he was voted to the All-NESCAC team three times by the league’s coaches. As a junior, he helped Hamilton win 24 games, tie for first place in the NESCAC standings, reach the semifinals of the NESCAC tournament and advance to the third round of the NCAA tournament. As a senior, the Continentals recorded 25 victories, tied for first place in the NESCAC standings, reached the NESCAC championship final and advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament for the second straight year. Peter is 10th on the Continentals’ all-time scoring list with 1,488 points and is 5th on the all time block list.
Peter finished his career in Ireland playing for the Cork Neptune in Ireland’s super league, where he averaged 12 points a game.
Allie without question is one of the greatest athletes, male or female, to ever don the blue and white for the Blue Devils. Allie’s athletic prowess did not end upon her graduation from Haldane, as she took her talents to Pace University where she excelled on the basketball court for 4 seasons and the softball diamond for two.
Allie’s career at Haldane is probably most noted by her accomplishments on the basketball court, where she led the varsity team for four and half years. But Allie’s multi-talents could also be observed on the diamond where she was a six-year varsity starter, and on the soccer field where she started on the varsity for five seasons. The personal highlights and achievements are far too numerous to list in the Hall of Fame booklet of inductees.
To list and separate Allie’s highest accomplishments is a daunting task but the most astonishing achievement is Allie being the only athlete in our school history to be selected first-team All-State in three different sports.
Allie was a 1000 point scorer at both the high school and collegiate levels, scoring over 1500 for the Blue Devils and over 1200 points for Pace.
A true super-star athlete is one who, despite their prowess and their own records and accomplishments, can lead their team to greater heights and achievements. To this end, Allie certainly qualifies and was the catalyst for so many of her team’s successes.
Allie's team accomplishments include leading her soccer team to 4 Sectional and 2 Regional Championships, State runner-up in 2013, and eventually the State Championship in 2014, where Allie garnered the NY State Tournament MVP.
Recording nearly a .500 career batting average in softball, Allie propelled her team to the Sectional Championship four times, a Regional Title, and a State Runner-Up in 2010.
Allie’s talents on the hardwood were instrumental in leading her team to 3 Sectional Titles and 2 Regional Titles and a State Final Four appearance in the Semi-Finals.
Despite all the successes Allie experienced, all the individual honors bestowed upon her illustrious career, Allie was always a team-first player and leader, and the teams’ goals were tantamount, not personal stats and recognition.
Kelly Vahos is a natural leader; she is assertive, compassionate, strong, and bright. Her strength off the court matches her strength on the court.
Kelly started playing Varsity Volleyball as a freshman. In her four years, she led her teams to four straight State Tournament appearances, winning the New York State Class D Championship in 2011 and 2013. Kelly was selected Most Valuable Player in the New York State Tournament in both years. In her senior year, Haldane lost the State Championship game to Portville High School 2-3, despite Kelly racking up 43 kills.
Over her time at Haldane, Kelly had 1236 kills, 359 blocks, and 132 aces.
Kelly was a three-time first-team All-State and All-County player. She was a four-time All-League and All-Section player, with multiple Prep Volleyball and American Volleyball Coaches Association player of the week nods. During her freshman year she was selected as a Prep Volleyball Phenom- awarded to the top 59 freshman in the country, then in her sophomore year she was selected to the Prep Volleyball Soph 79, the top 79 players to watch in the country. And during her junior year she was a top finalist for the Prep Volleyball National Junior of the year.
In her senior campaign, she was named the LoHud Volleyball Player of the Year, as well as the Section 1 Player of the Year. Kelly was selected as a Max Prep All-American, an Under Armour All American Honorable Mention, and an American Volleyball Coaches Association Phenom in her senior year. This kind of recognition is only reserved for the exceptional and elite within our country; from our research, Kelly is the only Haldane athlete to be granted this recognition.
Kelly continued her volleyball career at Division I James Madison University. In the 2018 season, Kelly had 230 kills, 75 digs, and 60 blocks when she was awarded Third Team All-CAA. During her time in college she had nine matches with double-digit kills.
Off the court, Kelly is just as tenacious. Anyone who has crossed paths with Kelly knows that she has a presence. Vibrant, gregarious, intelligent, Kelly commands the space she graces. She possesses a unique confidence while maintaining a genuine curiosity about life and the people around her.
Kelly is the first volleyball player to be inducted into the Haldane Hall of Fame.
The Girls Varsity Soccer 2014 team was the first, and currently only, State Champion Class C Soccer team for Haldane. The team finished with a 18-4 record, winning their 4th consecutive Sectional Title and Second Regional Title. The team was also recognized as a scholar athlete team with a combined GPA of 97.3. Bailey McCollum and Allie Monteleone lead the team in goals scored, while Missy Lisikatos lead the team in assists from the backfield. Sara Labriola contributed 11 shutouts, giving up less than a dozen goals in the entire season.
Head Coach: Gary VanAsselt
Assistant Coaches: Steve Schweikhart and Evan Whitson
Miranda Musso, Mary-Margaret Dwyer, Teresa Figueiras, Jordan Erickson, Hannah Monteleone, Tobey Kane-Seitz, Marissa Lisikatos, Amelia Hall, Lila Osborn, Sara Jacoby, Ally Ashburn, Sara Labriola, Bailey McCollum, Alzy Cinquanta, Marina Martin, Allie Monteleone, Bella Convertino, Julia Rotando, Alison Chiera, Savannah Williams, Kyra Cimino
As Coach Gary stated:
Every team I’ve watched, every team I’ve coached, did not have what this team has. Three seniors represented themselves with leadership and class. Allie Monteleone, Sara Jacoby, and Jordan Erickson enjoyed their final season wearing the blue and white with pride. Every player did their part to make this one team, one team together believing in each other, picking each other up. This team has heart.
Solomon Schecter 6 - 0
Rhinebeck 6 - 2
Avon on Penalty Kicks
Thomas Nastasi was a two-sport athlete during his Haldane career, emerging as a standout in football and a track star. He used his athleticism, speed, and jumping ability to help the football and track teams achieve great success at the state level. In addition to being an exceptional athlete, Thomas was always willing to help others throughout the community and was a great role model throughout his high school career.
As a member of the track team, Thomas set a school record for the high jump event with a mark of 6’2”, and came in 3rd place in the high jump event in the C-D State Championship during his junior year. During his senior year, Thomas was a sectional champion in the 400-meter relay, long jump, triple jump and high jump events. His 400-meter relay team had a time of 47.2 seconds, and his long jump record was 19’ 5 ½ “. He broke his own record for the high jump event clearing a 6’5 ¼ “ height, which was a section 1 best. Thomas won the 2000 C-D State Championship title in the high jump event, and he came in 8th in the Federation Tournament in all classes. He was selected as a Journal News First-Team All-Star.
In 2000, Thomas was kicker and wide receiver on the Blue Devils sectional champion football team. He kicked the game winning extra point that led Haldane to a homecoming victory over Valhalla. He also had the game winning touchdown during the quarterfinal sectional game. Thomas was a vital part of the football team that earned a trip to the state final four.
He brought his talents to the Suny Cortland track team, where he jumped a career high 6’10” which was a personal record.
James “Jim” Budney was a four-sport athlete at Haldane High School whose sheer talent touched everything he did. No matter if it was on the field, the mat, the track, or in the classroom, Jim was a spirited and successful team player with a natural ability to lead.
Long before his high school football career kicked off, Jim was one of the founding team members of the first-ever Philipstown Packers Pop Warner team. More than a decade later, in 1973, he was the co-captain of the Blue Devil Football team. Throughout the course of his 1971-1974 career, Jim was named to the 1972 and ’73 All Bi-Valley teams, the 1973 All County team, and the 1974 Prep All-American Football Program. Jim’s talent was so noteworthy that he was honored as the first Football Player of the Week 1973 as well as Best Back of the Week in September ’73. In his senior year, he was honored by the Beacon Pop Warner program.
As a wrestler, Jim won the Duchess County Scholastic League in his senior year at 177 pounds. Running track, Jim set the freshman record in the 440 with a stunning 53.5-second sprint. On the baseball field, Jim batted third and played center and took the plate with an above .300 batting average.
In addition to outstanding performance off the field, in the classroom Jim was a member of the National Honor Society and President of the Junior Class.
When he graduated, Jim was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1974 and went on to serve his country for 28 years. He retired as a Colonel and lives in Texas.
Bob Nappi grew up in Corona, Queens, New York, graduating from Holy Cross High School in 1963. In 1967, after graduating from Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York, he accepted the newly created position of full-time elementary physical education teacher at Haldane Central Schools.
Bob immediately showed his enthusiasm and support for extracurricular sports by volunteering to assist Frank Milkovich, the then Varsity Football coach, during the 1967 season. Later that year, he began coaching Junior High Basketball.
Through the years Bob coached Jr. Varsity Football and Jr. Varsity Basketball as well as establishing and coaching Jr. High Baseball, Jr. Varsity Baseball and a Weight Training program that culminated in the NYMA/Haldane Weight-Lifting Competition for three years.
Bob, together with Assistant Coach Lawrence Brigati, started the Post Season Football Awards Dinner in the early 1980’s. A few years later Bob and Larry, together with Parent George Baitich, started the Haldane Football Association. The Association eventually took over the Dinner which has evolved to the Athletic Awards Dinner of the present day.
Bob was an assistant to Coach Ralph Paonessa for the 1975 Bi-Valley Championship and Bowl appearance as well as the Head Coach for the 1984 Conference C North Championship and Bowl appearance. He was also selected that year as the Conference C North Coach of the Year. His most successful runs coaching Football were the 1981 through 1984 seasons where the Haldane Blue Devils went 14-3-2 in league play with three consecutive 2nd place finishes leading up to the 1984 Championship.
Bob closed out his coaching years serving on the Section I Football Coaches Association Executive Board from 1984 to 1987, his final year as an active Coach at Haldane. After 34 years at Haldane Central Schools – his one and only teaching position - he retired in June 2001.
Ralph Paonessa was selected as Haldane’s Athletic Director in 1971, succeeding local coaching and AD legend, Coach George Ellis, a current member of the Haldane Hall of Fame. Combined, these two stalwarts commandeered the Haldane athletic program for 27 years each. Haldane athletes couldn’t have been in more capable hands for over a half-century.
Ralph’s task as AD was daunting enough just following Coach Ellis, but his tenure was made even more difficult, because Ralph had to navigate the athletic program through numerous failed budgets. The austerity budgets, including the voting down also of the athletic budgets, were difficult obstacles to overcome, but Ralph did so unwaveringly and with great success.
In addition to his Athletic Director duties, Ralph coached football during two different decades and also stepped up to coach basketball and baseball at the JV level. He offered to coach these latter two sports during that time of failed budgets and union upheaval when few others would volunteer to coach.
Ralph’s football coaching career was from 1971-1975 and 1984 thru 1992. Ralph had built his reputation on the gridiron as coach of the Ketcham Indians, where in 1967 he led his team to an undefeated season, one in which not a single opponent scored a point.
Ralph’s combined record during his two coaching stints at Haldane was 60-38-2, which while unconfirmed, may be the best record in our school’s history.
Haldane formerly competed in the Bi-Vally League, and Paonessa led the Blue Devils to the 1972 and 1975 league championships. In 1975, before there were sectionals, the Blue Devils, after completing a 6-0-1 season, appeared in the Class C Bowl at Mt Vernon’s Memorial Field. Winning the Class C Bowl game was not in the cards, as Haldane lost to then perennial powerhouse Croton.
The first thing you’ll notice about the 1945 Haldane Football team isn’t the winning record, (5-0-1) and their opponents (Carmel x2, Newburgh (JV) x2, Brewster, Katonah). It isn’t even the league title. It’s the nicknames.
The team, led by head coach George Ellis, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018, the team was well balanced, there was “Bull,” “Farmer,” “Hoot,” “Red,” and “Coppertop,” to name just a few. They were the men who went on to become beloved locals; whose nicknames now live on in tender infamy. But in 1945, right across the river from where we are seated today, they were teenage boys playing the best football of their high school careers. They were the Haldane Blue Devils.
The 1945 football team reached an honor every team, no matter the sport, no matter the level, dreams of: a perfect season. They earned a combined total of 110 points while their opponents only walked away with a total of 12. They outscored the competition by 98 points and were unmatched in physicality, precision, and a passion for the game. They were running, rushing, passing, blitzing, kicking machines. And they were outstanding at all aspects of the game.
It is with tremendous pride that I announce the 1945 Haldane Blue Devil Football Team as inductees into the Haldane Hall of Fame. Please join me in congratulating each of the men:
Coach George Ellis
Team Members: Robert Adams, James Bailey Jr., Alex Baltich, Duncan Campbell, Bill Cox, William Devanney, Dan Dworkin, Ed Gallio, Norman Champlin, Ray Champlin, Angelo "Farmer" Constantino, Joseph Critelli, Roger "Hoot" Gibson, Thomas "Butch" Harris, William Henderson, Francis “Terry” Lahey, Doug Logan, St. Clair McKelway, Basil McCarthy, Don McGrath, Roger Monroe, William "Bull" Montrastelle, Joseph Nolfo, Fred Polhemus, Edward Purdy, Henry Rea, William Reilley, William Saddler, John Sgro, Art Sutton, Bill "Red" Thom, Robert Trimble III, Joe Vitanza, Sal Vitanza
Roger "Hoot" Gibson was a decorated athlete and a member of the Haldane class of 1946. He was a Nelsonville native, playing basketball, baseball, tumbling, and of course, football, during his years at Haldane High School. He joined the storied 1945 football team as a veteran in the backfield, playing alongside his peers and driving Haldane to a 5-0-1 record.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you with 100% accuracy the backstory behind his “Hoot” nickname,but it’s believed to come from the Western movie star Edmund “Hoot” Gibson, but here’s what I can tell you: Roger’s football career was one of excellence. Find any newspaper clipping from his tenure at Haldane, and you’ll immediately be regaled with stories of his on-field accomplishments. You’ll also be inundated with references to his size. He was beloved by both his teammates and fans as a monster of a man, even in his teens, using his tremendous size and stature to carry his team forward, one win at a time. In a local Beacon news article, a photo of a player on the opposing team holding onto Roger’s waist as he barreled forward for a touchdown earned him this affectionate caption: “Goliath.”
Outside of football, Roger was involved in the service and debate clubs at Haldane. Post high school, he had plans to pursue a career as a physical education director. He passed away on 24 December 1994. He is survived by his wife, Renate Schoenfelder Gibson, Richard Gibson, Heidi Gibson, nephews Ronnie, Dickie and Kevin McConville and their families, nieces Lisa Joy Malcolm, Denna Joy Retherford and their families, as well as the late Madeline Gibson Joy, June Gibson McConville and Barbara McConville.
Each Homecoming Weekend, Haldane welcomes a new class into the Athletic Hall of Fame.
The Haldane Athletic Hall of Fame recognizes the accomplishments and contribution of Haldane athletes and coaches. To nominate a potential inductee, please review the forms below.