TEMPE — Former ASU football player and Eloy native Benny Malone died this week after a long battle with diabetes, the university said Friday.
Malone, 68, starred at Arizona State from 1971-73 as a running back under coach Frank Kush. He was a key part of one of the most successful eras in the history of the Sun Devil football program. Arizona State compiled a 32-4 record, winning the Fiesta Bowl in each of the three seasons that Malone was a member of the backfield.
Malone played high school football at Santa Cruz Valley Union and was all-state in football and track.
In 1983, Malone was inducted into the Sun Devil Athletics Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Despite his career ending over 40 years ago, some of Malone’s incredible rushing numbers help him remain near the top of the school record book. Before Eno Benjamin’s 312-yard effort against Oregon State in 2018, it was Malone who held the single-game record for most rushing yards. Known for his explosiveness dating back to his days as a high school track star, he held the program record for 45 years. During a record-setting day on the road at Oregon State (Oct. 27, 1973), Malone ran for 250 yards (on only 24 carries), breaking Leon Burton’s 18-year-old school record. Malone also rushed for five touchdowns that day, matching another school record at the time. The 250-yard performance was one of ten 100-yard rushing games in his career, putting him in the Top-10 in program history for the category.
Malone finished his career with 2,328 rushing yards on 347 carries, scoring 25 touchdowns. He enjoyed a breakout senior season in 1973 that saw him run for 1,129 yards.
In 1974, Malone was drafted in the second round of the NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins. He played six years in the NFL with the Dolphins and Washington Redskins.
He was a member of the Dolphins from 1974-1977, before being traded to the Washington Redskins 6 games into the 1978 season. He played his final professional season with the Redskins in 1979, retiring after six seasons. During his 82-game NFL career, he rushed for 2,693 yards and 19 touchdowns on 706 carries. His 2,693 career rushing yards in the NFL are the fifth-most ever by a former Sun Devil.
Following his professional football career, Malone remained in the valley, staying involved in the community. Initially, he taught in the Tempe School District, mentoring and educating his students. After he stopped teaching, he continued to give back through his new business. Malone and his wife Laura, started a business which makes and sells custom T-Shirts. The Malone family has operated “Major T’s” for over 30 years, recently changing names to Malone Sports and Print. Part of their charitable endeavors included donating new clothing to victims of Hurricane Katrina as well as the Salvation Army.
Prior to his time at Arizona State, Malone was recognized as one of the greatest all-around athletes in Arizona High School sports history. Growing up in Eloy, he attended Santa Cruz Valley Union High School, where he was an All-State football player and track star.
In his first varsity football game as a sophomore, Malone reportedly had 275 yards rushing, giving everyone a glimpse at his potential on the gridiron. The two-time First Team All-State selection was tabbed as Southern Arizona’s top running back in each of his final two seasons. As a junior in 1969, Malone led the Dust Devils to a win over Ajo in the 3A State Championship game. During his senior season, he earned High School All American honors from Scholastic Coach Magazine. According to a 2017 list published by the Arizona Republic, Malone is recognized as the eighth-best running back in the history of Arizona High School sports.
Not only was he turning heads on the football field, the multi-sport star was one of the state’s top track & field athletes. The four-year letterman was the 1970 State Champion in high and low hurdles, as well as shot put. The Dust Devils won back-to-back Arizona High School Boys’ Track & Field State Championships in Malone’s final two years, thanks in large part to the points he accumulated. Because of his significant contributions while at Santa Cruz Valley Union High School, he was inducted into the SC Hall of Fame in 2010.
Malone is survived by his wife, Laura, also an Eloy native, seven children and nine grandchildren. Information regarding services is pending.
Brady officially joins BucsTAMPA, Fla. — Six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady has signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, saying he is embarking on a “new football journey.”
The 42-year-old quarterback who spent the first 20 years of his career with the New England Patriots announced his decision Friday in an Instagram post and thanked the Bucs for the opportunity. The deal is worth $30 million per season.
- Other moves had Atlanta signing ex-Ram running back Todd Gurley one day after he was cut; Denver agreeing to a two-year deal with former Chargers running back Melvin Gordon that is worth $16 million; and New Orleans retaining free agent left guard Andrus Peat with a five-year contract, virtually ensuring the entire 2019 starting offensive line will return for the Saints.
AP names All-America team
Dayton’s Obi Toppin, Iowa’s Luka Garza, Marquette’s Markus Howard, Seton Hall’s Myles Powell and Oregon’s Payton Pritchard were named to the Associated Press All-America first team Friday.
Toppin was the lone unanimous choice, receiving 65 votes from a nationwide media panel after averaging 20 points and 7 rebounds while shooting 63% in a breakout season.