Van Malone - Cornerbacks Coach - Kansas State University
Van Malone, who has several ties to the Big 12 and was a successful defensive back in both college and the NFL, was hired as cornerbacks coach at Kansas State in December 2018.
Malone comes to Manhattan after one year working as a defensive quality control coach at Mississippi State, helping the Bulldogs earn an 8-4 record and a No. 1 national ranking in scoring defense and a No. 3 mark in total defense.
Prior to Mississippi State, Malone was the defensive coordinator at SMU for three years, including the 2017 season when he was named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) National FBS Assistant Coach of the Year. That year, he tutored three All-AAC performers, including Justin Lawler, who was the conference’s leader in sacks.
Malone coached Lawler to his first All-AAC honor in 2016, a year he was joined on the list by cornerback Horace Richardson and safety Darrion Millines. Malone’s 2016 defense was statistically one of the 10 most improved in college football. The Mustangs ranked seventh nationally in interceptions per game and forced 26 turnovers overall. In fact, two of Malone’s three defenses finished in the top 20 in defensive turnovers.
Malone went to SMU after a three-year stint at Oklahoma State where he coached the Cowboys’ safeties in 2012 before switching to cornerbacks for the next two seasons. Under Malone’s direct guidance, Justin Gilbert became Oklahoma State’s first finalist for the Thorpe Award in 2013, a year he ranked fifth nationally with six interceptions and had two pick-sixes.
With Malone on staff, the Cowboys ranked seventh nationally with 30 turnovers forced during the 2013 regular season, with 10 of those turnovers involving his cornerbacks. The Cowboys entered the Cotton Bowl ranked in the top 25 nationally in scoring defense (14th), turnovers gained (seventh), passes intercepted (fourth), red zone defense (fifth), pass efficiency defense (ninth), tackles for loss (15th), third-down conversion percentage defense (seventh) and rushing defense (22nd) just one year after ranking in the top 25 nationally in only one of those categories.
Malone’s move to Stillwater came after two years serving as secondary coach and recruiting coordinator at Tulsa. Forcing turnovers was a recurring theme during Malone’s time in Tulsa as, in 2010, the Golden Hurricane defense ranked first nationally in interceptions with 24, while Tulsa was the NCAA’s second-ranked team for turnover margin and third for turnovers gained. In 2011, Tulsa was 12th nationally with 18 passes intercepted and 25th with 28 turnovers gained.
Malone first coached in the Big 12 from 2006-09 when he worked at Texas A&M, with three of those four years resulting in bowl appearances.
Malone coached defensive backs at North Texas during the 2005 season and also assisted coaching the special teams. Before that, Malone served as the cornerback coach and worked with the special teams at Western Michigan in 2004.
In 2003, Malone served an NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship with the Detroit Lions and also worked with wide receivers at North Dakota State.
Malone played five seasons in the NFL after being drafted in the second round – the 57th selection overall – by the Detroit Lions in 1994. He played in every game as a rookie and was a standout special teams player, earning Special Teams Player of the Week on six different occasions. His special teams play earned him a nomination for the Pro Bowl in 1994 and 1995, while the Lions reached the playoffs in both of those seasons.
In 1996, Malone started every game, was named the special teams captain and was awarded a game ball three times. After the 1997 season, Malone signed a contract with the Arizona Cardinals and retired after the 1998 season due to injury.
During his time with the Lions, Malone also served as a marketing intern with Reebok International and provided post-game analysis and commentary for Fox Television Sports as a co-host in Detroit (Fox2). He was a True Value NFL Man of the Year semifinalist and was called on by the club to speak to many organizations.
Beginning in 1997, Malone was a youth camp director and football coordinator at the Texas Sports Development Academy in San Antonio. He also co-founded and headed up the “New Beginnings,” a non-profit charity organization in Houston.
Malone began coaching in the high school ranks at his alma mater, Houston Waltrip, from 1999-2002. He also coached at Conroe High School from 2002-03. He earned the Houston High School Coaches Association “Assistant Coach of the Year” in 2000 and was also honored by the Houston Police Department with the “Lifesaver of the Year” Award.
Malone was a four-year letterman (1990-93) at Texas, earning All-America honors and All-SWC accolades as a defensive back his senior season. As a freshman in 1990, Malone earned Sporting News Freshman All-America honors as Texas won the Southwest Conference Championship.
A native of Houston who majored in education/sports management while at Texas, Malone completed his undergraduate work through the NFL’s degree completion program and earned his degree in social science from the University of Houston in 2002.
Malone and his wife, Nedra, have three sons, Van, Vaughn and Vincent.