FCA Baseball recently honored Ball State University head baseball coach Rich Maloney with the 2017 Jerry Kindall Character in Coaching Award.
FCA Baseball presents the Kindall Award each year at the American Baseball Coaches Association Convention to the college or high school baseball coach who best exemplifies the Christian principles of character, integrity, excellence, teamwork and service.
“FCA congratulates Coach Maloney on his well-deserving honor,” said FCA President and CEO Shane Williamson. “Coaches have the opportunity to impact more people in one year than most do in a lifetime, and Rich Maloney has lived up to that charge. It’s for this reason that, 62 years after our inception, FCA is committed to honoring coaches who exhibit the qualities of a godly leader who can truly change lives through their service.”
Added David Daly of FCA Baseball, “At FCA Baseball, we want to inspire all coaches to be coaches of character. Coach Maloney has impacted thousands of players over his long and successful career, and we are excited to see what the rest of his career has in store for him and how he will continue to glorify God through baseball.”
The winningest baseball coach in Ball State history, Rich Maloney served as the Cardinals’ head coach from 1996-2002 and again from 2013-present. Over 21 seasons—10 at Ball State and 11 at Michigan—his career head coaching record is 732-481-1 (.603), and he entered 2016 ranked 45th nationally for the best winning percentage and 37th for victories among active NCAA Division I Coaches.
Maloney’s teams have won MAC West Division Titles in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2014 and 2016, and MAC Regular Season Championships in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2014. He was named the MAC Coach of the Year in 1998, 2001 and 2014. At Ball State, Maloney has led teams to the only two 40-win seasons in program history—42 in 1999 and 40 in 1997.
Several of Maloney’s players over the years have earned impressive honors of their own. In fact, he has mentored 57 different players who have been drafted a total of 63 times and has coached five first-round draft picks.
Ball State University's Rich Maloney
The coach also captured three Big Ten Conference Championships and was named the Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year twice. Maloney had also made four NCAA regional appearances and won the regional championship in 2007.
Before his years at Ball State and Michigan, Maloney was an assistant coach at Western Michigan from 1992-1995 and played professional baseball from 1986-1991. He graduated from Western Michigan in 1986.
Maloney and his wife, Kelle, have one daughter, Natalie, and two sons, Nicholas and Alex, who plays on the Ball State baseball team.
According to Maloney’s Ball State bio, his former players have glowing words for their coach as well.
“From day one, Coach began to change not only me, but the entire culture of the Ball State baseball program.” Said Sean Godfrey, 2013 MAC Player of the Year, All-American and Atlanta Braves draft pick. “With him, he brought a new mindset and passion to the program. As a player, every moment became an opportunity to not only grow as a player but as a man too. I consider Coach to be my mentor and I attribute much of my success to his teachings. Whether you needed some help with your swing, some motivation, or just someone to talk to, Coach was there for me whenever I needed it. I am very fortunate to have played for Coach Maloney for two years and value our friendship today.”
Added Jon Kessick, who played at Ball State from 1997-1999 and was a third-round draft pick for the Baltimore Orioles, “Coach Maloney was more than an outstanding baseball coach to me. He was a mentor and a life coach. He believed in me and never allowed me to settle for less than my very best, on or off the field. I am without a doubt biased, but I have not met a greater coach in all of baseball who knows how to truly develop a player and a team into victory!”
The annual FCA Baseball award is named after Jerry Kindall, who was the first person in NCAA history to win a baseball national championship as both a player and a coach. In addition to his three titles at the University of Arizona as a coach, Kindall played shortstop for the 1956 National Champion University of Minnesota team.
Signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1956, Kindall went on to play eight seasons in the Major Leagues with the Cubs, Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins. Following his professional career, Kindall became the University of Arizona Wildcats head skipper from 1973-1996. He is Arizona’s all-time leader in career wins, finishing his coaching career with a record of 860-580-6.
Kindall is a member of both the University of Minnesota and University of Arizona Halls of Fame, and was the recipient of the ABCA’s Prestigious Lefty Gomez Award in 1999 as well as a three-time national ABCA Coach of the Year.
Although Kindall’s coaching resume is impressive, those who know Jerry either as a coach or as a peer are most impressed by the kind of person he is both on and off the baseball diamond.
Past Kindall Award winners include Dan McDonnell (2016), Brian Shoop (2015), Ray Hughes (2014), Rusty Stroupe (2013), Scott Berry (2012), Victor “Bubba” Cates (2011), Dave Altopp (2010), Carroll Land (2009), Elliot Johnson (2008), Mark Johnson (2007) and Jerry Kindall (2006). To learn more about the Kindall Award, visit FCA Baseball.
Photos courtesy of Mike Janes Photography