Former LB Malast joins wrestling staff
Rutgers head wrestling coach Scott Goodale began courting Kevin Malast when the latter was still a linebacker and captain on the Rutgers football team.
First, Goodale wanted Malast, who won 100 matches at Manchester Township High School, to wrestle for the Scarlet Knights. Then, Goodale wanted him to coach.
Goodale got his wish last week.
Malast joined Goodale’s coaching staff as a strength and conditioning coach, which he will serve as while still pursuing a career in the NFL.
“I always wanted him to be our strength and conditioning coach,” Goodale said. “I just thought with his wrestling mentality and the way he goes about his life, it would be great for our guys. He still has a dream in the NFL and he’ll pursue that dream for as long as possible, but in the meantime he’ll be with our guys.”
Malast started Oct. 21, a week after he was in Oakland to try out with the Raiders.
He was with the Tennessee Titans for training camp and signed with the Chicago Bears after the 2009 Draft, but has yet to stick with a team.
Still, Malast is not ready to give up. His contract contains a clause that allows him to leave at any time for another shot at the NFL.
“What’s good about this job is I’m working with the guys and I’m actively involved in their lives, but I can still train myself,” Malast said. “On my own time I go over to the Hale Center. As long as teams are still calling, I’m going to keep going after it.”
Malast also works with the football team and strength and conditioning coach Jay Butler while at the Hale Center.
He ate lunch with head football coach Greg Schiano on his second day on the job, and Schiano was not surprised to see Malast take up coaching.
“There’s certain guys you just see and say, ‘That guy’s going to be a heck of a coach,’” Schiano said. “There’s other guys you see and say, ‘That guy would never do the work it takes to be a coach.’ Kevin’s one of those guys that just gets totally into something. You have to have a little bit of an off-center personality to do this.”
Malast called it a product of his preparation: He studied enough game tape every week that a situation never caught him off guard.
The results were two seasons as a starter. He finished second on the team with 92 tackles and 2.5 sacks as a junior, and then made 101 tackles as a senior.
While Malast trained with the football team during the season and offseason, Goodale took his wrestling recruits to watch Malast in the weight room.
The pair goes back to when Malast grew up in Manchester, N.J., neighboring Goodale and Jackson Memorial High School, and Malast trained under Goodale.
Now he takes his training under Butler, who develops specific programs for every football player, and applies it to the wrestling team.
“I actually went through the program,” Malast said. “It’s one thing coming in as an outsider and trying to implement his program, but I’ve been through it — I know it works. I know what it’s all about firsthand, so it’s easier to teach that way.”
One of his pupils is Goodale, who welcomes the opportunity to let Malast coach his team for an hour while Goodale trains alongside them.
It is exactly what Goodale hoped for while Malast still played football. Schiano expected it, as well, and although he is quick to say it is only his own speculation, he thinks Malast’s future is coaching football.
“My job here and now is with the strength program. I do love football, though,” Malast said. “When I’m done playing, an ideal job would be to coach football here one day under coach Schiano and go from there. For now, I’m going to do the best I can with this job, my first real coaching job.”