Michael James (Mike) Malham (1953–)

Mike Malham was an all-star football player at Arkansas State University (ASU) in the 1970s. After a short career in professional football, he became a high school football coach. By the time of his retirement in 2019, he was the second-winningest coach in Arkansas high school football history.

Michael James Malham was born to Michael Joseph Malham and Betty Ruth Atcley Malham on March 2, 1953, in Little Rock (Pulaski County). He has two sisters. Both of his parents were educators, with his father also pursuing a career as a coach.

Malham graduated from Little Rock’s McClellan High School in 1971. Coached by his father, he played linebacker, receiver, and occasionally quarterback on his high school football team. Malham was an All-Conference and All-State player in high school.

After graduation, Malham attended Arkansas State University, playing on the football team from 1972 to 1975. (Although he was attending ASU in the fall of 1971, Malham was not eligible to participate in games due to National Collegiate Athletic Association regulations prohibiting freshman participation.) He played tight end in 1972 but was moved to linebacker in 1973. During his college career, he was credited with 370 tackles, led the team in tackles in 1973 and 1974, and was second in 1975. Malham received numerous honors while playing with the ASU Indians (later renamed the Red Wolves). He was named All Southland Conference second team in 1973 and first team in 1974, and 1975. He was second team Academic All American in 1973. He was a fixture at linebacker on the Indians’ 11–0 team in 1975.

The 6’2″, 214-pound Malham was drafted by the National Football League (NFL) Chicago Bears in 1976 in the seventeenth round. He was under contract with the Bears in 1976–1977, being placed on the injured reserve list in 1976. A broken arm ended his time with the Bears the next year. He had brief stints with the Baltimore Colts and the Canadian Football League Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Malham married Alexis Anne Menke on April 15, 1978. The couple had two children, Lexi and Matt. Matt worked as an assistant coach with his father.

Malham began his high school coaching career in Jacksonville (Pulaski County) as an assistant for three seasons from 1978 to 1980. In 1981, he was hired as the head coach at Cabot High School in Cabot (Lonoke County). He led his team to a 7–4 record his first year. While at Cabot, he led his Panthers to an AAA state championship in 1983 with a 13–1 record. The 2000 Panthers also clinched the state championship honors for 5A with a 14–0 record. Malham-led teams finished state runner-up in 1997, 1998, and 2003, and advanced to the state playoffs semi-finals eleven times and won fifteen conference titles. The notable 300th win came on October 12, 2018, beating Little Rock Central, 41–21. In honor of that win, Cabot mayor Bill Cypert declared October 13–19 as Mike Malham Week in Cabot. Malham finished his coaching career with 301 wins, 138 losses, and four ties, the second most games ever won by an Arkansas high school football coach.

During his head coaching years, Malham received many awards and accolades, including being head coach in the state’s annual all-star football game in 1994 and 2001, Channel 4 Friday Night Coach of the Year in 1997 and 2000, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Coach of the Year in 2000, and Channel 7 7A Coach of the Year in 2013. He was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.

Malham has also been honored for his college playing career, being named to the All-Time ASU Team (1909–1975), inducted into the ASU Athletic Hall of Honor in 2001, and named to the 1970s All Southland Decade Team and the ASU All Centennial Team.

Malham retired from his coaching position at Cabot High School in 2019. He resides in Cabot with his family.

For additional information:
“Always a Panther.” The Leader, June 23, 1918, pp. 1, 6.

“Malham in 300 Club.” The Leader, October 13, 2018, pp. 1, 9.

Muck, Jeremy. “Cabot’s Malham Goes for No. 300.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, September 14, 2018, p. 8C.

———. “Malham Sets Cabot Retirement.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, June 12, 2018, p. 1C.

Taylor, Erick. “On 5th try, Malham Secures 300th Victory at Cabot.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, October 13, 2018, p. 5C.

Debra Polston
Cabot, Arkansas


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