By Jack Copeland
The parishioners of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church know
one side of Del Malloy. A few years ago, music lovers seeking out a
lively Irish beat after a long work week knew another side of the
native Rhode Islander. For many years, now, countless
student-athletes have seen yet another side – the
soft-spoken, hard-working coach who became their trusted mentor and
Now, the NCAA membership will see the sum of those sides on display as Malloy, who has served for the past 11 years as athletics director at Salve Regina, becomes chair of the Division III Management Council.
It seems to be the latest of many roles to which he’s been called.
He began coaching when a group of girls who were cut from the St. Mary Academy Bay View varsity basketball team tearfully begged their first-year PE teacher to form a junior varsity squad. He eventually coached 11 different sports at the high school and collegiate level, eventually leading the Wheaton (Massachusetts) women’s basketball team to the Division III semifinals in 1994.
He began playing music when, as a teenager fascinated by drummers at dances, he took up his mother’s crocheting needles and began pounding away on pillows. After drumming in a country and western band while serving in the Air Force during the mid-1960s, he spent more than 25 years playing in Celtic bands – sometimes using his feet to keep time on the kick-bass and high-hat cymbal of his drum kit while tapping out a rhythm on the bodhran, a hand-held Irish percussion instrument.
Eight years ago, Malloy’s deep faith began calling him toward a new pursuit, and last fall on Columbus Day, he was ordained as a Catholic deacon. One fairly typical Sunday, he delivered homilies at three masses and baptized four children in his parish in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
“I don’t think it’s up to us when you get a calling,” he says of his service to the church. “All of a sudden, you get this thought in your head – it just consumes you.”
He probably wouldn’t use those same words to explain his current leadership role, but they offer some insight into how he found himself deeply involved in Division III’s governance. The responsibility is just part of another calling – the opportunity to be involved in higher education and make a difference in students’ lives.
“I always cherished the fact that I was a full-time member of a college staff,” Malloy says. “I cherished the association with the young men and young women that I came in contact with, and my colleagues throughout the college.”
Student-athletes long have been seeing the side of Del Malloy that brought him where he is today in Division III.
“The neat thing about being involved in the division is, you can be more than just a coach,” Malloy says. “You can be, first and foremost, a mentor. You can be a teacher. You can be a disciplinarian. And you can be a coach.
“You can be someone student-athletes go to when they don’t know who to go to. And I think you can be a source of comfort to them during the tough times in their college experience, and another person to be proud of them on graduation day.”
That, actually, is the side of Del Malloy that anyone can see, anytime, anywhere – the same side that led him to liven up wedding dances, honor his faith, and devote himself to intercollegiate athletics.