Tuesday, March 03, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Malham honored, humbled by award

Leader sportswriter

Longtime Cabot High School head football coach Mike Malham was one of 12 members inducted into Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame on Friday night at the 57th annual induction ceremony at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.

Malham just completed his 34th season at CHS, and is one of the most successful coaches in Arkansas high school history. In his 34 years as head coach of the Panthers, Malham has compiled an impressive record of 274-114-4, making him the third-winningest coach in the state’s high school football history.

Under Malham’s lead, the Panthers have won two state championships. Their first came in 1983. That team finished with a 13-1 record, and in 2000, the Panthers won another state title and finished that season with a perfect 14-0 record.

Malham’s teams finished as state runner-up three times, in 1997, 1998 and in 2013. His teams have advanced to the state semifinals a total of 11 times, and have won 14 conference championships.

Malham said he was surprised and humbled when he got the news earlier this year that he’d be inducted into the latest Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame class, but said it was an enjoyable evening Friday, and he was quick to thank everyone that helped him earn this prestigious honor.

“I had a lot of people that came out and gave me a lot of support,” said Malham. “It was a great evening. I really enjoyed it – pretty humbled by it. I’m fortunate enough to be honored this way.

“Of course it took a lot of great teammates, coaches and players to help get me here. I didn’t get here by myself, that’s for sure. It was a fun evening, and I really enjoyed seeing a lot of the old greats that came before me, and they were all real nice and congratulated me.”

With Friday’s induction, Malham joined his father, Mike Malham Sr., into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. Malham Sr., a former high school football coach at Little Rock Catholic and assistant at Arkansas State University, was inducted in 1999.

That makes the Malhams one of just a handful of father and son members in the state’s sports hall of fame.

“That’s kind of neat,” Malham said. “I think there are only five of those. In fact, Steve Jones is going in the same year as me, and my dad and his dad went in the same year. So that’s kind of neat.”

Stephen Jones is the son of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Stephen Jones and Malham, along with Dwight Adams, Pat Bradley, Leon Clements, Eldon Hawley, Bowden Wyatt, Christy Smith, Stan Lee, Carl Jackson, Jack Fleck and Ron Calcagni made up this year’s hall of fame class.

In addition to his coaching success, Malham saw success as a player as well. He had a successful playing career at Arkansas State, where he played from 1973-1975.

After the ASU Indians finished 11-0 and became the Southland Conference champions and finished No. 21 in the final Associated Press poll among major universities his senior season, Malham was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 17th round of the NFL Draft in 1976.

A broken arm ended his professional playing career in 1977, and his coaching career began as an assistant at Jacksonville High School in 1978. The Red Devils won the state championship in 1981, Malham’s last year there.

He was named the head coach at Cabot in 1981, and has been there ever since. Part of the shock Malham received when he got the news of his hall of fame induction stemmed from the fact that he’s still coaching.

“When I got the call it did shock me a little bit,” Malham said, “because I’m still actively coaching. Usually that’s something that comes after your career is over. It shocked me a little bit, but, again, it’s a humbling experience.

“Everybody was so nice, and like I said, the support that I have from Cabot, I think we had about 10 or 12 tables here, it was really neat. Not only were all these other people here, but Cabot was well-represented, which represents me, and I appreciated that.”