Former Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Chuck Noll, the only NFL coach to win four Super Bowls, used to tell his retiring players that it is time to get on with your life’s work. Baron “B.B.” Flenory is doing just that.
Flenory scored nearly 2,000 points at Valley High School in New Kensington and was a Parade All-American as a senior. He was Pennsylvania’s High School Player of the Year in 1976 and scored 25 points and won MVP honors for Pennsylvania in the famous Dapper Dan Roundball classic.
BARON ‘B.B.’ FLENORY
Flenory is in the WPIAL Hall of Fame, the Duquesne University Hall of Fame and is now trying to get into the “Fund Raising Hall of Fame”.
The B.B. Flenory Foundation held a fundraiser at Rocco’s Sports Bar and Tavern in Tarentum on Nov. 8. Over 200 people packed the place and enjoyed great food, drinks, a polite staff and ownership. As the Steelers were winning against the Bengals, many people went home with special prizes and autographs from their favorite legends.
The Foundation’s main objective is to raise money to help deserving students attend college or trade school who otherwise are unable to afford it. Fundraising events like the one at Rocco’s serve as the largest fundraising vehicle for the Foundation.
“I teamed up with Alan Lincoln, former GM of WAMO and we want to raise $20,000 to $50,000 for scholarships, mentoring and after school programs,” said Flenory. “I have always given back. God has been so good to me and I want to help kids get into college, trade school or beauty school.”
Many fans were able to get an autograph from “Big” Sam Clancy, one of the greatest athletes to come out of both Pitt and Pittsburgh. A product of Fifth Avenue High School, he went on to an outstanding basketball career with the Panthers from 1977-81. Clancy became the first Pitt player to score 1,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds. He remains the school’s all-time leading rebounder with 1,342 career boards.
Clancy then embarked on a 13-year pro football career, playing for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburgh Maulers and Memphis Showboats of the USFL.
He currently holds the position of Varsity Letter Club coordinator and Athletics Gifts officer at Pitt. Do his duties include trying to bring in great athletes like Cam Newton to the University?
“No, no my responsibilities are to former Pitt varsity letter winners like Greg Meisner to try and reunite them with Pitt,” said Clancy. “I also work with members of the Panther Club.”
What is the difference between today’s athlete and the gladiators of your day?
“Biggest surprise is that these All-World freshmen are content with sitting on the bench for 2 years,” said Clancy. “When we grew up we felt like we could play with anyone.”
Also in attendance and generous with his time was former 11-year NFL veteran and current Hempfield Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Greg Meisner. Meisner played with the Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants.
“There is great tradition in this area going back to the 40’s and 50’s,” said Meisner, who graduated from Valley in 1977. “I remember listening to the games on radio and all I wanted to do was play for the High School.”
The apple has fallen far from the Valley tree recently and has apparently rolled all the way to Gateway and Woodland Hills High School.
“Valley is no longer a powerhouse,” said Meisner. “When I played we competed at the AAA level which was the highest classification. This was before Quad-A and we were one of the top teams in the state.”
Playoff football was much different in 1977. There were just three classes in the WPIAL: AAA, AA and A. And unlike today’s many levels of playoff and statewide competition, only two teams met in postseason play in each WPIAL class, for the championship. The statewide playoffs, a staple of Pennsylvania high school football, did not begin until 1988.
Also in attendance was Bill Neal, CEO of Champion Enterprises, and Alan Lincoln, who is CEO and president of MAA & Associates, LLC. He is also the president of the web media division of urbanmediatoday.com. Lincoln previously served as president of Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio Division, which included WAMO.
Little country towns like Tarentum don’t get to see many celebrities, so the crowd erupted when two-time Super Bowl Champion Judge Dwayne Woodruff was announced. Woodruff currently serves as Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge and he signed over 100 action photos of his days wearing the black and gold.
“Our next event will be a Black Tie in January when we’ll roast the 1968 Valley basketball team,” said Flenory. “1968 was the first year for Valley, the year that New Ken and Arnold High schools merged. The 1968 team was a great team that made it all the way to the Civic Arena.”
The great tradition of Valley basketball and football began in 1968. They had a chance to establish an identity that stood for nearly three decades. The sons and daughters of the class of 1968 are probably living in Monroeville or Woodland Hills now.