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Malloy is inspiration to his students
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Malloy is inspiration to his students

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Calvin Malloy was captain of the football team at Putnam County R-1 High School in Unionville.

He set every rushing and scoring record during his senior year. He was the unanimous choice for All-Conference first team running back, linebacker and punter. He also earned first team All-District for running back and was State Player of the Week for their homecoming game against Milan when he scored five touchdowns and generated 273 yards of total offense – all in the first half.

Malloy was voted Most Valuable Player of the Year and finished with impressive stats during the nine-game season of his senior year. In rushing, he had 183 carries, 1,116 yards and 6.1 yards per carry average. For receiving, he had seven catches, 151 yards and 21.5 yards per catch. In scoring, he achieved 18 touchdowns with 17 for rushing and one for receiving; one two-point conversation; one safety; and 112 total points. For defense, he had 117 total tackles with 29 unassisted, 88 assisted; two interceptions; and three fumble recoveries.

Malloy and his teammates ended up with the title of Tri-River Conference champs in 1978.

His accomplishments in basketball were also impressive. He played varsity for three years and started for two of those years.

During his senior year, Malloy played 25 games and averaged 12.6 points per game. He had 71 offensive and 101 defensive rebounds. Out of 77 free throw attempts, he made 51.

The team members were 2A regional champions and Tri-River Conference co-champs.

Malloy earned second team All-Conference, was voted Mr. Hustle for hardest-working player and received the Best Free Throw percentage trophy.

He also ran track in the 220 and 440 races, high jump and sometimes threw the discus.

“We won all but one of the Tri-River Conference track events I was part of,” he said.

He took second place in the event in which his team did not win.

“We did not have cross country in high school,” Malloy said, “so I played football, basketball and track.”

He went to Missouri Western State University on a football scholarship after receiving multiple offers in football and basketball.

“Back then football was my sport,” he said.

Now, his sport has shifted from basketball football and includes track and cross country.

Malloy, assisted by wife Denise, is head coach of both sports at West County.

He ran 10-15 miles a week when two of his sons ran cross country at Potosi. They earned three state championships between them. Malloy also assisted their coach, Steve Davis, for several years.

After his youngest son graduated in May 2005, Malloy stopped running. He still assisted Davis with his kids and worked at Joe Bill Dixon’s Wilderness Running Camp.

Malloy did not run for about eight months.

Then in January 2006, Denise asked Malloy to go to the track to walk. They walked two miles every day for a week.

After that, he started running one lap and walking another. A week later, Malloy was running two miles a day. A month later, he was up to four miles per day. By July when he was at the running camp, he was leading one of the groups out on their two runs per day.

At that camp is when Malloy first ran his first 14-mile run. He did it twice that week.

“That is really the first time I thought of myself as a distance runner,” he said.

And that week is when he decided to run a marathon.

In December 2006, he ran the Dallas White Rock Marathon and finished with a time of 3:23:26. He was 46 and qualified for Boston on his first marathon.

Malloy said his sons first inspired him to run distance.

“When I run, specifically when I run alone, is when I feel closest to God,” he said. “Some of my best sermons have come to me on long runs.”

Malloy ran in his first marathon in Dallas in certified marathon course. He earned a qualifying time based on his age and became eligible to run in Boston.

“I qualified several times but have only run it twice,” he said.

He ran the Boston Marathon in April 2007 at age 46 and April 2011 at age 50.

The first time he felt sick and could not hold water down after the 10th mile. He ran the last 16 miles with only one drink. He finished in 4:08:20 and placed 14,378 out of 20,348.

The second time was after he ran the Chicago Marathon on his 50th birthday in October 2010 with a finishing time of 3:17:49.

“Boston went much better this time,” he said. He ran 3:16:18 and was 4,202 out of 23,879.

The fastest marathon he has run was the St. Jude Memphis Marathon in 2008 when he finished in 3:00:47, which was a 6:54 per mile pace. He wanted to break three hours and just fell 47 seconds short of his goal.

The last marathon Malloy ran was in Omaha in 2013. He ran a total of four marathons that year in April, May, June and September.

In total, he has run 15 marathons so far.

Malloy said the “only big race that I won the overall in was the Spirit of Survival Half Marathon in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge.”

The first half – 6.5 miles – was up the mountain and then back down.

“I trained on a lot of hills back then and this race was made for me,” he said. “I took the lead half-way up the mountain and never looked back.”

His winning time was 1:27:37.

Malloy stepped away briefly from coaching after Davis retired from Potosi. He knew Amanda Politte, the newly hired coach, would be great so he thought it would be better if he was not around all the time. He had also gone back to school to earn a project management degree.

Shortly after that, Rocky Stevens, a West County school board member, asked if Malloy would be interested in starting a cross country team in the district.

“To have a good cross country program I believe,” said Malloy, “you need to also have a track program. So I requested we start that also.”

Malloy said spending time with Davis, Dixon and many other great distance coaches at camp helped him more than anything else.

In fact, it was Dixon at his camp who told Malloy that he needed to be a coach.

After Malloy had accepted the position of coaching cross country at West County, he saw Dixon at a meet. He reminded Malloy of that conversation.

“In truth, I thought of that conversation before deciding to take on starting the West County program,” said Malloy.

So Malloy started West County’s cross country team during the 2017-18 school year. The following year, he also coached the new track team. Wife Denise assisted him because no one applied for the assistant coaching position. She had already been around cross country and track practices and events for many years.

“When our boys ran, because I was so involved, she knew what it would take,” he said. “Because of that, it took more than a week before she said yes.”

Malloy said because of so many varied events, track is much more difficult to coach than cross country.

When cross country summer training was about to begin, Sonia Hovick had taken another job and decided not to coach a second year.

“Denise did not take as long to say yes to cross country,” said Malloy. “She is very good at keeping things going behind the scenes, like paperwork, communication, etc.”

Malloy said, “Distance runners are not made in weeks. They are made in years and miles.”

This past year – the 2019-20 school year – proved successful for several West County athletes.

“This year we had several kids who put in the work over the last two to three years, particularly in the summer to make themselves better,” said Malloy.

He said the team concept was a little slow in developing within the group, but once it took off everyone improved. The team focus was definitely on “full display at the district meet.”

The boys’ team – Levi Johnson, Thomas Kearns, Evan Knox, Korbyn Miller, Cody Moore, Joshua Myers, Joshua Neeley, Chris Porterfield and Cameron Stevens – advanced to the state meet. Five of the six girls ran their personal best – Sydney Cash, Kara Hovick, Hannah Myers, Alivia Simily, Wren Smith and Elizabeth Somerville. The girls were only six points short of teams which finished in the eighth and tenth spots at the state meet.

Four students earned all-conference recognition: Cody Moore, Sydney Cash, Kara Hovick and Alivia Simily.

Simily went on to become the district champion and West County’s first-ever All-State cross country runner.

The district gave a sendoff – complete with cheering students and staff and decorated posters – before traveling to the state meet.

“The sendoff was wonderful,” said Malloy, “because it made our runners feel special. Even though cross country is unique in that other teams’ fans will cheer you on in a meet, we don’t get the feel of a hometown crowd. That, to me, is what was so special about the sendoff.”

Malloy said his hope is that students’ lives are benefited by what he and Denise teach their athletes during cross country and track by respecting themselves by eating healthy (“ice cream and soda are bad and green vegetables and Vitamin C are good”); exercising their spirit, mind and body; and striving to be better tomorrow than they were today. He also wants them to learn about respecting others by being respectful.

“You must be respectful of others to be respected by others,” he said, “and be honest with yourself and others.”

Plenty of rest is necessary before any running event.

Malloy said, “To perform at your best, you must have rest!”

He added that athletes are much happier if they focus on getting better instead of how much better someone else is than them.

“At the end of the day, if you’re better than you were last week, month or year, you win,” said Malloy.

He had one other goal as a coach: “Create as many all-conference, all-district and all-state athletes as we can.”

Malloy doesn’t mind the long days because he truly enjoys working with the athletes. During the week, he wakes up at 4 a.m. and leaves for work shortly afterward. After his eight-hour shift at Buckman Laboratories as an instrument technician specialist, he arrives at school about 3 p.m. to begin a two-hour practice. He and the West County athletes practice seven days a week during most weeks throughout the season. Weekend runs are usually early to allow everyone to fit other activities in their schedules.

He said the hard days happen when he gets called in to work in the middle of the night and then work his normal shift. He is on call 24-7.

Even though the hours are long and the weather doesn’t often cooperate, Malloy wouldn’t change a thing.

Pam Clifton is a contributing writer for the Daily Journal

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