Hall of Fame Class of 2022
A 1954 graduate of the former Philip Schuyler High School, the late Richard Bruni was the most decorated student-athlete of his era and one of the most decorated in the history of the City School District of Albany’s athletic programs.
In his sophomore year of 1951-52, Bruni joined Albany High School senior and fellow Hall of Fame Class of 2022 inductee Eugene Toney on the Knickerbocker News All-Albany basketball team. It was the first of three consecutive appearances on the annual basketball all-star team for Bruni.
A shoulder injury during junior high kept Bruni away from the Schuyler football team until his junior year, but once he got on the field there was no stopping the Falcons’ dynamic receiver. With a combination of size, speed and sure hands, Bruni was named to the Times Union All-City football team two years in a row.
Bruni’s first season of varsity football came in 1952. Following that season, along with naming Bruni to the first-team offense the Times Union also recognized Schuyler’s first-year coach Joe Purello as its coach of the year. Purello, a former football standout at Albany High and Syracuse University, said Bruni’s exceptional talents made his job easy that season.
Notre Dame offered Bruni a basketball scholarship, but a second shoulder injury cut short his athletic career after high school.
He went on to a career in construction, including working as a foreman in building the Empire State Plaza. Bruni married his high school sweetheart Sandra, who was his cheerleader all through high school. They raised four children in Delmar. He later entered a career with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, retiring in 1997. Bruni died in 2021 at the age of 86.
A 1968 graduate of the City School District of Albany’s former Philip Schuyler High School, Kirk Daniels went on to a career of more than 50 years in television and video production in the Capital Region.
Daniels was the first African-American technician hired at WTEN when he began there in 1968. He went on to an impressive career that spanned 45 years at WTEN. He was involved with thousands of local news stories during that time, first as a cameraperson, audio and videotape operator, and later as a master control operator and editor.
Following his retirement from WTEN in 2013, Daniels served for eight years as the studio coordinator for Channel Albany, the city’s public-access television station. His expertise and steady leadership provided much-needed stability and professional experience for Channel Albany’s video production capabilities. His engagement with the community, and his work with independent producers from all walks of life, yielded innovative and educational television content for the Albany community.
Daniels also volunteered for more than a decade as the media coordinator for First Israel AME Church in Albany, one of the oldest African-American churches in the Capital Region. His skills helped First Israel AME produce video conferences that are distributed nationally.
A proud product of Albany’s public schools, through his professional accomplishments and community service Daniels is a shining example of achievement and determination.
A member of the Albany High School Class of 2002, Coach Carmen Duncan has distinguished herself through her tireless dedication and service to the young people of the Albany community.
The chief coach and founder of Mission Accomplished Transition Services, Duncan has spent the past decade developing this career coaching and training agency. Mission Accomplished works with millennial adults who are early in their careers, helping young professionals develop their passion and skills into meaningful and successful career paths.
In her work, Duncan develops and delivers programming, and fosters partnerships with local businesses, schools and colleges throughout our community to build and grow a network of support. She has been recognized for the love and dedication she puts into our community through professional and soft-skill development, social innovation and cohesion.
The following insights are from Duncan’s Hall of Fame nomination:
“Coach Carmen lives and breathes community development right here in Albany, and has done so since Albany took her in as a teenager and gave her new life, and a positive view of her future. If there were more men and women in this community that put forth the undeniable effort that this woman does, our world would be a far better place.”
In addition to her work with Mission Accomplished, Duncan has served as an adjunct professor at Siena College and the University of Albany. She also has served in a variety of volunteer roles, and is currently a mentor with 518ElevatED, formerly Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar.
She has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Black Women’s Association of Albany’s “Woman of Distinction” award, The Business Review “40 Under 40” recognition, and the University at Albany’s “Initiatives for Women” award.
A member of the Albany High School Class of 2002, Zach Korzyk is the founder and CEO of DeltaMath, an online program used by millions of teachers and students internationally, following a 13-year career as a highly regarded math teacher in New York City’s public schools.
In the classroom from 2007-20, Korzyk taught Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus and AP Computer Science at Manhattan Village Academy. He was a 2019 recipient of the Sloan Awards for Teaching Excellence in Science and Mathematics, presented by the Fund for the City of New York.
Also a Math for America fellow, Korzyk used his life experiences in Albany and beyond to make math more fun and accessible for students worldwide. He created DeltaMath when he identified a need for a modern program to encourage his students’ growth and abilities, building the online program with other math teachers to ensure that their products truly serves the needs of educational stakeholders.
Today, Korzyk now leads the business full-time, with 12 employees. DeltaMath users have increased to 7 million students and 100,000 teachers over the past year.
At the time of the Sloan award in 2019, the Fund for the City of New York noted the following:
“Zach Korzyk is a brilliant teacher for the 120 students he sees daily at MVA. He is also a brilliant teacher for the 60,000 teachers and 2.4 million students around the world who have used his DeltaMath platform. Korzyk created DeltaMath to help his Algebra II students and now it is used in middle schools, high schools, and colleges everywhere.
“A colleague, who was one of the first adopters of DeltaMath, says, ‘It is really hard to understate how revolutionary DeltaMath is. Mr. Korzyk was an extraordinary teacher before DeltaMath; with DeltaMath, he is helping to create equally extraordinary teachers for generations to come.’
“According to his principal, ‘Mr. Korzyk is one of the most outstanding math teachers I have ever met in my 33-year career in education. He works with students who are initially considered average and they all pass AP exams, go to college and have successful careers in many fields.’”
A member of the Albany High School Class of 1952, the late Eugene Toney was an all-around student-athlete who excelled in – and developed a lifelong passion for – basketball during his time wearing the garnet and gray.
A standout in football, track and basketball at Albany High, Toney was a co-captain in basketball as a senior in 1951-52 and the only African-American student-athlete on the team that season. He averaged 22 points a game his senior year for coach Nate Sutin’s team. His well-known one-handed push shot was the most feared weapon on Capital Region courts that winter.
Toney dominated the voting for the Knickerbocker News’ All-Albany team that season, where he also was joined by another member of our Hall of Fame Class of 2022 – Philip Schuyler High School sophomore Richard Bruni.
Asked by a Times Union reporter at the start of the 1952-53 season who would replace Toney in the Albany High lineup, Sutin replied: “If I thought anyone could, I’d feel a lot happier.”
Toney turned down a basketball scholarship to Syracuse University to serve his country.
He would then join the Air Force for two terms of service, where he had the opportunity to pursue a career in communications intelligence while also continuing his love affair with basketball. While stationed at McChord Air Force Base in the state of Washington, Toney led the Air Force Defenders to the 25th Air Division basketball title.
After leaving the military, Toney would start a long and successful career in the trucking industry. Starting out as driver, Toney would soon be recognized as an up-and-coming leader and be promoted to a leadership role as one of the first African-Americans elevated to a management position at his company.
When he retired form Beacons Moving and Storage as operations manager and regional manager of contracts for the labor union, Toney started a transportation consulting business that thrived until he retired in his late 70s. Following his retirement, he remained a go-to consultant and trusted advisor in the transportation industry.
Later in life when his physical challenges wouldn’t allow him to play the game he loved any more, Toney transitioned to following basketball intently.
Affectionately known as Papa, Toney was a prostate cancer survivor, and an advocate and long-time member of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Lanham, Md. Remembered as a strong, smart, confident and modest man, Toney transitioned Aug. 18, 2019 at the age of 84.