Ex-Michigan volleyball star Molly Lillard, daughter of Jets' great Al Toon, dies in apparent murder-suicide

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·3 min read
Michigan's Molly Toon, right, attempts to score during an NCAA tournament game in 2012. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Michigan's Molly Toon, right, attempts to score during an NCAA tournament game in 2012. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Molly Lillard, a standout University of Michigan volleyball player and daughter of New York Jets great Al Toon, was shot and killed by her husband in what police are calling an apparent murder-suicide, the Arizona Republic reported.

Lillard (née Toon while at Michigan) was found with gunshot wounds in front of a house in Scottsdale, Arizona, around 5 p.m. on Sunday, police said. She was taken to the hospital and died of her injuries. Police identified her husband, 36-year-old Royce Lillard III, as the shooter and said they were unable to communicate with him upon arrival at the house.

The SWAT team entered the home around 10:45 p.m. and discovered he had died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, per the Republic. The police said all signs point to a murder-suicide. 

Molly was 28. The couple's 8-month-old child was present during the shooting, per the Republic, but was uninjured and is currently with family. The couple married slightly more than two years ago, the Middleton (Wisconsin) Times reported.

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Molly (Toon) Lillard became volleyball star at Michigan

Lillard led Middleton High School to two state volleyball tournaments as captain before heading off to Michigan. The 2010 graduate led her high school to 60 consecutive conference match victories and recorded 20 digs in a state quarterfinal victory. The mark is still tied for second-best in a three-set match. 

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Photos in Rob Reischel's tweet taken by Mary Langenfeld.

At Michigan she was a four-year letter-winner and all-American honorable mention by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. The outside hitter graduated in 2013 and led the Wolverines to the NCAA volleyball tournament all four years she was there. They reached the championship match in 2012 and finished runner-up to Texas. 

Her brother, Nick, also played football at Wisconsin and was a fourth-round NFL draft selection by the Jets in 2012. Her sister, Kirby, played volleyball at Wisconsin and the youngest Toon, sister Sydney, played at UW-Whitewater. 

Al Toon a standout NFL star in Wisconsin

Al Toon was a standout football player at the University of Wisconsin, completing his career in 1984 as the Badgers' all-time leader in receptions (131), receiving touchdowns (19) and yards (2,103). He held the records for nearly two decades until Lee Evans came through in 2003.

Toon was drafted No. 10 overall by the New York Jets in 1985 and was a first-team All Pro in 1986. He was named to three Pro Bowls and the Wisconsin Sports Network named its annual award for best high school receiver after Toon. He was also a two-time All-American triple jumper at Wisconsin and qualified for the Olympic trials.

Al and his wife, Jane, have four children, all standout athletes in their own right. The family is "widely considered the first family of Middleton," the Times reported.

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