December’s featured University is Malone University in Canton, Ohio
Malone is a Friends University located in Canton, Ohio. As Canton’s only university, Malone takes great pride in its relationship with the city. It strives to be a Christian light in the community, and a great partner to the city leaders and the residents of the Hall of Fame City.
Malone is situated on 150 acres right off of Cleveland Avenue in the heart of Canton, just 2 miles north of historic downtown. Malone was founded in 1892 by Walter and Emma Malone as a small, co-educational Bible institute called Cleveland Bible College, located in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1956 the school was forced to relocate due to the fact that the State was taking the property were the school was located for the Interstate 90 construction project. The board of Cleveland Bible College chose Canton as it new home for many reasons, but one of the most important reasons was because at the time, Canton was the only city in the country with a population of over 100,000 that did not have an institution of higher education. The board also chose to rename the college to honor its founders. It was also at this time that the decision was made to move from a small bible college to a liberal arts school, meaning it increased its courses of study to include such things as degrees in education, political science, history, music, and psychology. This was all a part of the overall mission of the board to use the forced move as an opportunity to grow the institution and become a regional leader in broader fields of professional and academic studies. Since its relocation to Canton and becoming Malone College, the school has continued to expand and improve its influence. In February 2008, the Malone College board of trustees voted unanimously to rebrand as Malone University. The move to a university reflected a transition that had capped off in 1999, when Malone adopted a university structure on which to operate. According to the institutional press release, the transition to Malone University reflected the institution’s “mission and emphasized the potential for enhanced educational opportunities within the liberal arts context for the growing number of undergraduate students already studying in 90 different academic programs.”
Interview with Director of Athletics Charlie Grimes:
What is your current position with Malone University and how long have you been in the position:
Mr. Grimes is the Director of Athletics, overseeing varsity athletics, intermural, and club sports. He has been in this position at Malone for 9 years.
What did you do before becoming the Director of Athletics at Malone University:
Charlie started his professional career at Eastern Michigan University, were he served as assistant track coach. In 1997, he moved his family to Canton and became the Varsity track coach at Malone. He remained the track coach until taking over as Director of Athletics in the fall of 2008.
What do you like best about your job:
“Being around the student athletes, watching them face challenges, and overcoming them is a wonderful part of my job,” says Charlie. “But I also like the fact that I get to represent my University to the greater Canton community, as well as outside this general area through our sports conference affiliations. I find it a great responsibility and privilege to represent such a fine Christian organization.”
What do you like least about your job:
“Paperwork and the day-to-day scheduling management is my least favorite thing to do. It is an important part of my job and I take it very seriously, but with a background as a coach, I would rather be with the teams than in my office,” remarks Charlie.
What sports are you in charge of at Malone:
Malone offers the following varsity sports; Fall – men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. Winter – men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming & diving, and men’s and women’s indoor track. Spring – baseball, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s and women’s outdoor track. Along with the varsity sports Malone offers the following intramural sports: dodgeball, flag football, sand & indoor volleyball, basketball, soccer, corn hole, slow pitch softball, and kickball. Intramural sports offerings may change year to year based on student interest and participation. Club sports offered at Malone include: ultimate frisbee, disc golf, chess, men’s volleyball and endurance. Endurance includes cross country, triathlon, and cycling. Malone is hoping to increase its club sports offerings in the future to include sports like bowling, ice hockey, weightlifting, water polo, and rugby.
In the time you have been the Director of Athletics at Malone, what is a memory that stands out to you:
“There have been many great moments in the life of Malone athletics during my years as Director of Athletics. Great victories for all our teams, some by winning a game or event and some by the way we show God’s love in defeat. But what really stands out in my mind is the process we went through as Malone went from competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to competing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division II level. It took four years to make the move, countless hours of planning and meetings, but to see it come to fruition and knowing that all the hard work was worth it, that is what I will remember most when I reflect on my career,” Charlie says.
Any interesting sports history at Malone that you would like to share:
Malone has a rich athletic history. From 1969 – 2011 as members of the NAIA Malone had 416 All-Americans, along with 1 individual nation champion in men’s cross country, 1 individual nation champion in women’s cross country, 2 individual national champions in women’s track & field, 2 individual national champions in men’s golf, and 20 individual national champions in men’s track & field. Since making the move to NCAA Division II, 14 Malone athletes have earned All-American honors.
Malone also has four alumni golfers playing on various levels of the PGA tour – Tyler Light, Nate Tarter, Richie Schembechler, and Justin Lower. Two of these athletes led the team to a 3rd place finish in the NCAA Division II National Championship in Malone’s first year of membership.
But when talking about athletic history at Malone, it really starts and stops with Jack Hazen. Jack has spent the last 51 years (and counting) as the men’s and women’s cross-country coach. So far, his teams have won 5 national championships. He was also part of the 2012 United States Olympic coaching staff as a distance running coach. “Jack is the standard by which we judge all our coaches,” explains Charlie. “It has been and continues to be a privilege to work alongside such a great coach and an even more unbelievable human being.”
How are you connected with The Ohio Floor Company:
The Ohio Floor Company has been working with Malone for 30+ years. “The relationship between Ohio Floors and Malone does not exists because of me,” remarks Charlie. “It goes way back. They have been taking care of the hardwood in Osborne Hall for as long as I have been around, including my coaching days.” In fact, Malone was one of the first college floors the company worked on. At the time, The Ohio Floor Company was just starting out in the gym floor business. In 1983 Mid-Ohio Hardwood Floors was founded when Steve Yoder bought Bear Floor Sanding of Sugarcreek. Steve quickly improved the process of installing and sanding high- end hardwood maple gym floors, with Malone being an early customer. Over the next 30+ years the relationship has continued as The Ohio Floor Company maintained the hardwood in Osborne Hall, re-sanding the original floor a couple of times and then doing a complete floor replacement in 2005. Since the installing, sanding, painting, and coating of the new floor system, Ohio Floor has help Malone change the center logo as well as increase the life of the floor through yearly maintenance coating and paint touch-up. “It is a real testament to The Ohio Floor Company’s quality of work and customer service to have a 30+ year relationship with us. Meeting our needs at a high level for that long speaks of their commitment to customer service and their ability to stay on the cutting edge of the gym floor business,” Charlie said.
What new and exciting things are in the works for Malone athletics:
Malone has just broken ground for their new outdoor sports complex, Pioneer Park. Pioneer Park will bring baseball back on campus, as well as improve the softball field, soccer field, and practice football facilities. Located on the northeast corner of campus, the new facility will include a new turf baseball complex, softball field improvements, a soccer field, and a practice football field. “Bringing baseball back on campus has been a dream of ours for many years,” says Charlie. “It is so exciting to see that dream become a reality.” Along with the state-of-the-art baseball complex, the softball, soccer, and football programs will benefit greatly from the new facilities as well. “Our goal is to provide our coaches and student athletes with the best possible facilities. Pioneer Park is just the next step in that process,” explains Charlie. “Pioneer Park will be great for our sports programs, but it will also be a great addition to the campus as a whole. The student body will hopefully have an improved experience as we continue to revitalize the outdoor spaces on campus. Even though my main concern is the athletic programs, I truly care about every students experience while at Malone. I know Pioneer Park will help give them the college experience they deserve.”
Starting a Lacrosse program at Malone is another thing the athletic department has on its plate. “Lacrosse has become a very popular sport; adding it to our athletic program would be a great addition to Malone,” explains Charlie. “Our goal is to stay current and up-to-date with the times. As the world around us changes and evolves, Malone will do its part to keep up.”
Being the only higher education institution in Canton, Malone takes great pride in that fact. Malone and its athletic department are very proud of the relationship with the city and its businesses. It is most proud of the relationship that has been developed with The Pro Football Hall of Fame. “The Hall of Fame is a center piece of Canton; the whole region is excited to see the renovations the Hall is making. As they invest in our community, with the Hall of Fame Village project, Malone is excited to be a partner with them. Playing our home football games at Tom Benson Stadium is a great privilege, one we do not take for granted. As the Hall continues to develop plans, Malone is standing beside them and is excited to partner with them. The future is bright for Canton, and Malone University is proud to part of Canton’s past, present and future.” – Charlie Grimes