Michael Joseph "Coach" Malham, 94, of Little Rock, passed away on Dec. 12. He was born in Brinkley on Aug. 1, 1924, to Raymond Joseph and Coukeb Mahfouz Malham.
Mike began a lifelong love of sports in Brinkley, where he played both football and basketball. He enjoyed cultural traditions of his Syrian/Lebanese heritage, passed down by his parents, but was a proud citizen of the United States and the freedoms that afforded him, serving in the United States Marine Corp during World War II to preserve those freedoms for us all. After the Marine Corp, he graduated from Arkansas State Teacher’s College (now UCA), where he played and lettered three years in football and was a member of the AIC co-champions in 1948, a group that played in the Kickapoo Bowl.
Mike started his coaching career at Clinton High School in 1949, coaching both football and basketball. He was the Ccvics teacher and coached at Little Rock Catholic from 1952 through 1968 and coached at Little Rock McClellan from 1968 through 1971. As a high school coach, he earned about every major honor, including the Lowell Manning Award as Outstanding Coach of the Year in 1960 and the Curtis King Award in 1994. He was head coach in the first Arkansas High School all-star basketball game.
In 1971, an invitation came from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. Mike served as an ASU assistant coach for 19 seasons under head coaches Bill Davidson and Larry Lacewell. After 40 years of coaching, he retired in 1989.
Mike was inducted into the Arkansas High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in1998, the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1999, the University of Central Arkansas Hall of Fame in 2006, the Arkansas State University Hall of Honor in 2006 and was a past president of the Arkansas High School Coaches Association.
Described as“intense” while on the field, off the field, Mike was known as a gentleman and a true friend. Coach was revered by so many high school and college athletes that played for him and many coaches who worked with him throughout the years.
Mike was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Ruth Atchley Malham; his parents; three brothers, James Isaac Malham, Raymond “Zoom” Malham, and Brother Vincent Malham; two sisters, Elizabeth Ceaser and Idell Malham.
Left to cherish his memory are his son, Michael J. Malham (Alexis) of Cabot; two daughters, Michele French of Cabot and Maria Malham of Little Rock; four grandchildren, Lexi Malham, Matt Malham (Whitney), Shelly McLernon (Mikie) and Josh French (Ashley); seven great-grandchildren, Molly Claire, MatthewHarrison, Brittany Jade, Jonah Matthew, Caleb Michael, Ezra James Allen and Eva Marie; and many nieces and nephews.
A funeral Mass honoring Mike’s life was held Saturday, Dec. 15 at St. Jude Church in Jacksonville. A meal and visitation was held in the parish hall.
Services were under the direction of Roller-Owens Funeral Home of North Little Rock.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial contributions to be made to the following: Christian Brothers University, Brother Vincent Malham Scholarship Fund, 650 East Parkway South, Box 104, Memphis, TN 38104; ASU Red Wolves Foundation, In Memory of Coach Mike Malham Sr., PO Box 2219, State University, AR 72467; UAMS Reynolds Institute on Aging, 4301 West Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205.
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