Mike Maloy 1949-2009
School’s first black player led team to national prominence
By Stan Olson(Charlotte Observer and charlotteobserver.com)
Davidson’s Mike Maloy and North Carolina’s Charlie Scott, along with Kentucky’s Mike Casey, were featured on the Dec. 2, 1968 cover of Sports Illustrated. Maloy and Scott were almost teammates at Davidson.
Mike Maloy, Davidson College’s first black athlete and one of its best basketball players, died Tuesday in Vienna, Austria. He was 59.
Maloy, who led the Wildcats to back-to-back NCAA tournament regional finals in 1968 and 1969, was found dead in his apartment. He had been suffering from a severe case of the flu, according to an Austrian newspaper.
Maloy, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound center, was one of the new breed of post players who relied on quickness and athleticism to counter height and bulk. He was a three-time All-American and Southern Conference Player of the Year in 1969 and 1970.
â€œI’ve been fighting with the Davidson Hall of Fame to put him in there,â€ said Lefty Driesell, who coached Maloy through his junior year. â€œHe was the best player they ever had.â€
Post-career honors from the school have been made difficult because Maloy never graduated. He left Davidson after his senior basketball season.
He was a dominant player on dominant teams, and remains the school’s all-time leading rebounder with a 12.9 average. Maloy also is the school’s seventh-leading scorer (1,661) and averaged 19.3 points for his career.
He helped break Davidson’s color barrier. â€œHe was one of the most popular guys on campus,â€ Driesell said. â€œHe didn’t have any trouble relating to people. Everybody loved him.â€
East Carolina athletics director Terry Holland, who coached Maloy as a senior, said, â€œMike was not only a great basketball player but one of the most enjoyable human beings that I have ever been around.â€
Maloy’s Davidson career almost didn’t happen. A New York City kid, he wasn’t planning to go to college.
â€œHe was going to be a Jehovah’s Witness,â€ Driesell said. â€œ(Scout) Howard Garfinkel told me about this 6-7 kid who could play. He hadn’t even taken the SAT. We had an alumnus drive him down to Davidson â€“ it was legal at that time.â€
On the drive down, Driesell said, Maloy spent two hours memorizing poetry. When he arrived, Davidson’s admissions office administered the SAT.
â€œHe scored â€˜way over 1,300,’â€ Driesell recalled. â€œHe was a very smart kid.â€
Because of NCAA rules at the time, freshmen weren’t eligible for the varsity, and Maloy broke his wrist and missed most of the season anyway. He was healthy as a sophomore, and Driesell soon found out what he had.
â€œHe would ruin practice, just blocking shots all over the place,â€ Driesell said, chuckling. â€œAnd he was always smiling and laughing on the court. I said, â€˜Mike, you got to get serious.’ He said â€˜Coach, I am serious.’
â€œThat’s just the way he was.â€
This, more than stats, summed up Maloy’s basketball career at Davidson.
â€œWe were playing Duke in the old coliseum (on Independence Boulevard),â€ said teammate Dave Moser, a senior then. â€œIt came down to us having to score to late, and Lefty called timeout. He thought for a minute and then said, â€˜Heck, just get the ball into Mike. Mike, you handle it from there.â€
Maloy handled it, and Davidson won 88-80.
Drafted by the NBA’s Boston Celtics in the 10th round, Maloy chose the American Basketball Association instead, where he saw limited action in parts of three seasons and was a teammate of future Hall of Famer Julius Erving.
He eventually landed in Austria, where he played professionally and became a naturalized citizen in 1980.
Maloy had recently been working at the American International School in Vienna as a teacher and basketball coach. He loved singing the blues as much as basketball, and was still performing in a Viennese blues band.
Despite his remarkable career at Davidson, Maloy’s No.15 has never been retired, because of that missing degree.
â€œI tried to get in touch with Mike several times in the last few years, but I could never find him,â€ Driesell said. â€œBut he was the most consistent player I ever had.
â€œHe never had a bad game.â€