A FOOTBALL LEGEND: Badin’s Terry Malone passes away at 83

Badin High School football coach Terry Malone happily holds the trophy on Nov. 23, 1990, after the Rams captured the Division III state championship with a 16-6 victory over Richfield Revere at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon. JOURNAL-NEWS FILE PHOTO
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Badin High School football coach Terry Malone happily holds the trophy on Nov. 23, 1990, after the Rams captured the Division III state championship with a 16-6 victory over Richfield Revere at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon. JOURNAL-NEWS FILE PHOTO

Area football coaching legend Terry Malone has passed away at the age of 83.

Malone, who won 360 games in a 46-year prep head coaching career at Hamilton Catholic and Badin, died Saturday just before 7 a.m. at Mercy Health Fairfield Hospital after undergoing eight hours of quadruple bypass surgery Friday.

John Malone, a 1979 Badin graduate who played quarterback for the Rams, said his father found out three years ago that he had congestive heart failure.

“He was supposed to have the surgery Wednesday morning, but he had a problem with his knee and it got moved back,” John said. “So over those two days, everybody got to spend a lot of time with him.

“The last six weeks he had a hard time moving around, but up to that, he really stayed active walking every day and spending time with the grandkids and all that stuff. At Thanksgiving, he went to the Notre Dame-USC (football) game out in California.”

Funeral arrangements haven’t been finalized. Badin principal Brian Pendergest said the family can use the school if they choose to, but in accordance with his father’s wishes, Malone said he’s “95 percent sure” the visitation will be Tuesday at Colligan Funeral Home and the mass will be Wednesday at St. Ann’s.

Asked if he wanted to make a statement about his father, John replied, “To us, he was our father. People think of him as the football coach, the disciplinarian. But at home, particularly in the last 20 years since my mom’s been dead, he’s had to kind of take more of a nurturing role.

“He was really a nice guy. He was hard on us in football, but he was different at home. He was a dedicated family man, and I think he was really dedicated to St. Ann’s and the Catholic faith. That’s how I’ll remember him more than a football coach. He was really proud of the players and what they did after football. When he talked about people, he would say, ‘He was a good player, but now he does this.’ ”

Terry Malone retired after the 2003 season as the winningest coach in Ohio history with a record of 360-117-8, though his win total has since been surpassed by Ironton’s Bob Lutz and Akron Manchester’s Jim France.

Malone, a longtime history teacher, was inducted into several Halls of Fame and earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce in 2004.

“Terry never identified himself as a coach. He always identified himself as a teacher,” said Dean Wright, a 1965 Hamilton Catholic graduate who played for Malone and then coached with him for 37 years. “That teaching just spread over to the football field. He saw that as his mission.

“I don’t know that there was ever anybody who was more dedicated to Badin than Terry Malone. He lived it. He breathed it. He ate it. This guy was the face of Badin. I know there’s some people that kind of take umbrage with that, but I don’t care. That’s really the truth. He was the straw that stirred the drink.”

Terry Malone poses for a photo inside his office on Nov. 5, 2008, in Hamilton. JOURNAL-NEWS FILE PHOTO
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Terry Malone poses for a photo inside his office on Nov. 5, 2008, in Hamilton. JOURNAL-NEWS FILE PHOTO

Chuck McKinney, a 1978 Badin graduate who played for Malone and is now the pitching coach for the Rams baseball team, said the coach had a lifelong impact on him.

“He did so much not just getting us prepared for the games, he got us ready for life,” McKinney said. “Whenever I’m doing something, whether it’s coaching or working, I still hear his voice when I’m tired and want to just call it quits for the day, ‘Push yourself. It’s the fourth quarter.’ You get that next burst of energy that makes you want to be the best.

“I would love to hear him say, ‘One more time,’ just one more time. I would love to have a nickel for every time he said that at practice. I’d be very wealthy.

“I had three heroes in my life: God, my dad and Coach Malone, and two of the three are now with the No. 1. I’m sure in one way or another, Coach Malone was a hero to all of us.”

Malone graduated from Hamilton Catholic in 1952, rushing for four touchdowns and catching eight TD passes during his prep career. He went on to play linebacker and fullback at Xavier University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Malone was an assistant coach at Hamilton Catholic for one season under Carl Falivene, then became the head coach in 1958. All-boys Hamilton Catholic merged with all-girls Notre Dame to form Badin in the fall of 1966.

His Badin teams qualified for the playoffs 16 times, and the Rams made it to the state finals in 1978, 1980 and 1990. The 1990 squad defeated Richfield Revere 16-6 to capture the Division III title on Nov. 23, 1990, at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.

“I kind of looked at Coach Malone as a father figure,” said Tommy Pate, a senior on the state championship team. “He was tough on you, but he was a good Christian man in the same breath. It’s kind of amazing that my uncle had three generations that he coached.”

Malone attended the 50-year reunion of Badin’s unbeaten 1966 team in October and said the 1965 Hamilton Catholic squad was probably his best. Ed Pate was the leading scorer for that crew.

“My uncle Ed always says, ‘We’re the best team ever,’ and my comment is always, ‘You didn’t win state,’ ” Tommy Pate said. “Now I know they didn’t have the playoffs back then, but it’s an ongoing thing. Whenever Eddie would see him, he would make me come over and he would say, ‘Coach Malone, now who was the best team?’ He would be smiling and wouldn’t say anything.

“Those were real good times. I’m just waiting for the football stadium to be built called Terry Malone Stadium. Maybe I’ll see it someday.”

Lakota West coach Larry Cox is a 1982 Badin graduate who was a member of three Ram playoff teams and also coached on Malone’s staff for several years.

“Having played for him and then getting to coach for him and getting to know him in that different light, that was a real treasure,” Cox said. “The biggest takeaway is how Terry got players to play hard for him. He got the absolute most out of kids in a way that may not have always been politically correct, but it made you a better man.

“Terry is not going to want you to lament about his death. He would be the type to say, ‘Dammit, get tough.’ That’s just how he was. I’d much rather celebrate and tell stories about him and treasure the fact that in a small, brief time, I got a chance to play and coach for him. I’m one of Malone’s men.”

Malone was well-known for his blunt nature and belief in discipline and structure. Wright said he probably wouldn’t fit very well in today’s football world.

Badin High School football coach Terry Malone is surrounded by happy Ram fans on Nov. 23, 1990, after BHS defeated Richfield Revere 16-6 in the Division III state championship game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon. JOURNAL-NEWS FILE PHOTO
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Badin High School football coach Terry Malone is surrounded by happy Ram fans on Nov. 23, 1990, after BHS defeated Richfield Revere 16-6 in the Division III state championship game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon. JOURNAL-NEWS FILE PHOTO

“It’s just hard to imagine how many people he has touched, and he touched some of them harder than he did others, depending on whether they fumbled or got a penalty or whatever,” Wright said. “He was never short of criticizing you, but he was never short of giving you your kudos either.

“I think Terry was born at just the right time. I don’t know how successful he’d be in a world where everybody gets a trophy and it’s nobody’s fault and win or lose you’re still a winner. How would he have fared in this day and age of political correctness? He’s the reason that we have political correctness now.

“He was in the right place at the right time. The guys that played for him and coached with him, they were damn fortunate. I doubt that any young kids today will ever have a coach and a teacher that will influence them the way he influenced so many people. He turned around a number of kids that were on the path to not so good simply because he showed an interest in them. He gave them some goals, the encouragement they needed to figure it out.”

Wright said Malone was in good spirits when he visited him in the hospital Thursday.

“It was a real bonus that I hadn’t even considered,” Wright said. “I think what I really enjoyed about it was that nobody else was there. The family that was there had left and the ones that were coming hadn’t gotten there yet. So it was just he and I, and we just chatted for about an hour or so.”

Wright noted that he nearly left Badin early in his coaching career, but decided against it at the last minute.

“That was when the Ross job opened up,” Wright said. “That was probably four or five years into my teaching career. Terry says, ‘Look, I’m not going to be around forever. In fact, I’m probably going to retire in the next couple years. I do want to coach my boys.’ At the time, that was Dave and John. So he says, ‘If you stick around, you’re going to get the job. I’ll make sure of that.’

“I went after the Ross job and I had it offered to me, and I turned it down because I’m thinking in four or five years, maybe I’ll be the head coach here. Then he went on to have two more boys.”

Cox recalled when Malone chose him to be a freshman coach.

“It was the shortest interview I ever had,” Cox said. “He moved Greg Renneker up. Terry was standing in front of the Freedom Shrine. I’m in college at the time, and I go walking up to him and say, ‘Coach Renneker is moving up?’ He goes, ‘Yep.’ I said, ‘Who’s going to do your freshmen?’ He said, ‘I don’t know yet. Are you interested?’ I said, ‘I’ll do it.’ And he said, ‘OK, it’s yours.’ That was the interview. To take me sight unseen like that meant a lot to me.”

McKinney said he could listen to Malone talk about football for hours.

“For me, the neat thing after he got out of coaching was sitting up in the stands at football games listening to him talk about the game,” McKinney said. “He had the amazing ability to see things that probably none of us would see. Just this past year, even though it was a down year and he wasn’t doing well, I sat next to him at four games and just listened to him talk. His football mind and football memory were phenomenal.

“When I’m that age, I hope the players that I’ve coached think half as much about me as I think about Coach Malone. That would mean worlds to me.”

In addition to his career as a coach and teacher, Malone was an athletic director, assistant principal, interim principal and dean of boys.

“You can’t even really measure what he’s done for Badin High School,” said Pendergest, a 1990 BHS graduate who didn’t play football. “He definitely put Badin on the map.”

Malone and his wife Betty were the parents of 10 children and lived in Hamilton. His wife preceded him in death in 1997. One child, Terry, is also deceased.