Our Own Cleveland Hockey Legend

We received some fantastic news this summer. Longtime Gilmour hockey coach John Malloy will be inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame! Throughout his storied coaching career, Coach Malloy has amassed an overall record of 798-421-50 for all levels and an overall Ohio high school record of 606-337-40. That’s a lot of games coached. But, he looks at the record and, instead of wins and losses, remembers the players. Coach Malloy is one of those people who leaves a lasting impression on his players, keeping in touch with many of them years after they played for him.

Coach Malloy’s hockey story began in Cincinnati, where he grew up as the eighth of nine children. His father spent 12 years as a pro baseball player and was a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds for five of those years. Malloy’s mom was a former field hockey player and worked at the Cincinnati Gardens, the city’s indoor ice arena. As such, the Malloy kids grew up skating. Malloy spent 11 years figure skating before making the switch to hockey at 15 and fell in love with the sport. Because there wasn’t much hockey in Cincinnati, he had to play on his brother’s team in an adult hockey league, which included several retired members of the Cincinnati Mohawks, the farm team for the Montreal Canadiens. They taught Malloy a great deal and, after high school, he attended the University of Cincinnati for two years while continuing to work on his game. The following year, he transferred to Miami University, where they were building a rink and launching a varsity program. He played there for four years, captaining the team from his freshman year on. The first two years, the team was still considered a club team, but Malloy’s junior and senior seasons, the team was a varsity team. He was consistently among the top five point earners throughout his tenure at Miami and still holds Miami records for single-season assists (52), points in a period (5), assists in a period (5) and assists in a game (6). 

Coach Malloy transitioned from player to coach the following year, when he took on a graduate assistant role at Miami, taught classes and served as coach of the club team for the 1980-1981 season. He fell in love with coaching that year and, after graduating with his master’s in education, was offered a coaching and teaching position at Cleveland Heights High School. He taught PE and health and did eight years of high school drug and alcohol counseling. He coached the Cleveland Heights team from 1982-1996, amassing a 292-88-5 record that included a state runner-up finish in 1986 and a state championship in 1987.

Next stop was Rocky River High School, where Malloy taught PE and coached from 1996-1998. His teams were 36-24-2 and won a Baron Cup 2 Championship.

In 1998, Malloy arrived at Gilmour. He has overseen the ice arena, taught, 
served as hockey director (including youth hockey), coached the prep team and, since 2004, has coached the Varsity A team. Today he has admission and advancement responsibilities as well.

In 2011, Malloy was named News-Herald Hockey Coach of the Year. He had just led the team to its second Frozen Four appearance and had won the state championship in 2008. He was named Ohio Hockey Sportsman of the Year by the OHSAA. The prep hockey league named one of their divisions after him in recognition of his involvement in forming the first Midwest Prep Hockey league. He helped start Team Ohio, a senior all-star program, and was instrumental in changing the structure of the Cleveland high school hockey league into the divisions they use today. The intent was to create leagues based on ability, not region so that competition would be more equitable. This helped to grow hockey in the area as schools were willing to start teams because they could initially compete at a beginner level. 

When Malloy arrived in Cleveland, there were 19 high schools with hockey programs. Today, that number is more than 40. Malloy also pushed for the creation of a separate league for the elite teams, resulting in the Great Lakes Hockey League, which includes almost all the top high school teams in the area.
Today, Malloy stands just four wins away from becoming Ohio’s all-time winningest high school hockey coach. He is a proud member of both the Gilmour Academy Athletic Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Heights High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Coach Malloy has been married to his wife, Erin, since 1982. They have two children, J.T. ’04 and Jayne.
While the wins and the accolades Malloy has compiled through the years are great, it’s the people with whom he has done it that he most remembers. He said, “It’s all the great relationships I have made with players, parents, fellow coaches and the many teachers and administrators and other staff over the years. It has and always will be about the people.” He continued, “I remember one of my early mentors telling me, ‘Someone is going to win and someone is going lose, but you can always treat each other with respect.’ I hope I have coached with that always in the forefront of my mind and actions.”
Congratulations, Coach Malloy, on this well-deserved recognition! The induction will take place during the 2019 Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame ceremony on September 18 at Landerhaven.
You can read more about Coach Malloy’s accomplishments in an article by Chris Lillstrung that appeared in The News-Herald.

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