DeKALB — Saturday was the second time the Huskies competed against the Miami University – Ohio RedHawks for the Mallory Cup, in honor of the late Bill Mallory.
NIU lost a tough road game to the RedHawks in a 27-24 match Saturday in Oxford, Ohio.
Mallory coached NIU to its first Mid-American Conference Championship in 1983. That same year, the Huskies beat California State University – Fullerton 20-13 in the California Bowl, hosted at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, California.
The 2003 season marked NIU’s second-best record since joining the MAC. The Huskies went 10-2 overall and 8-1 in conference play. The 1983 Huskies included Tim Tyrell, former NIU quarterback, who said he remembers Mallory as a man of honesty and someone who touched many people’s lives.
“I’d never met anyone who has affected more people that I personally know than Coach Mallory,” Tyrell said. “To witness [his coaching], it’s really hard to explain. People talk a big game, but this is a man who lived it everyday through his actions. It wasn’t just about football, it was beyond football.”
Tyrell won the 1983 MAC Player of the Year Award. Tyrell, who was inducted into the NIU Hall of Fame in 1992, went on to play six seasons in the NFL. Tyrell said Mallory had a major influence on who the quarterback was on and off the field.
“Very few people meet a person who has influenced every move made in [their] life,” Tyrell said. “That is exactly what [Mallory] did for me.”
Vince Scott, former kicker under Mallory, and former NIU football head coach Rod Carey, who played center for Mallory at Indiana University from 1989 to 1993, said they wanted to create a tribute for Mallory, according to Hoosiers Sports Report’s website.
Scott said it was important to have a trophy to honor his former coach. During Mallory’s life, Scott strived to honor him; after his passing, he wanted to do the same. Scott is an NIU Hall of Fame Inductee and was present at Mallory’s funeral.
Mallory coached at Yale University, University of Colorado, Bowling Green State University and the Ohio State University. Before leading the Huskies to their MAC Championship in 1983, Mallory led the RedHawks to their own championship in 1973.
His daughter, Barbara Mallory-Britt, was a student at Colorado before following her father to NIU where she graduated.
“At the time he was at Northern Illinois, he had such passion for the Mid-American Conference,” Mallory-Britt said. “He brought a history and passion for midwestern football. He was 200% in to build Northern Illinois to be a major force.”
Mallory-Britt said the Mallory Cup is always difficult for her family due to the connections with NIU and Miami. The Mallory connection to Miami extends further as Mallory-Britt’s oldest son, David Britt, was a walk-on at the Miami football program. Mallory-Britt said both schools are a special part of their lives.
Mallory’s legacy lives on and off the field and carries on through the influence he had on players. Eleanor Mallory, Bill’s wife, said Bill was known as an inspiration to many of his players.
“For some of his players, [Bill] was the only father they had,” Eleanor said.
Bill’s name is seen in many halls of fame, including the Ohio University’s Cradle of Coaches, the Athletic Hall of Fame at Ohio University and Indiana University, the MAC Hall of Fame and the Indiana Football Hall of Fame.
The former coach finished his career as the head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers, where he coached for 13 seasons. Bill is Indiana’s winningest football head coach, with an overall record of 69-77-3, including six bowl appearances. Although Mallory never won a conference title with Indiana, the former Huskies head coach tied for second place in the Big 10 in 1987.
In April 2018, NIU Athletics announced the Bill Mallory Legacy Scholarship, which will be awarded to a football student-athlete who demonstrates dedication and commitment to the football team and NIU community, according to NIU Athletics.
“The impact Coach Mal had on me and my family is beyond measure,” Scott said to NIU Athletics. “He was more than my coach and a mentor. Coach was a close friend and confidante. The Bill Mallory Legacy Scholarship will help preserve his memory and provide opportunities for deserving Huskie student-athletes for years to come.”