Ed Malinowski - Whatever It Takes
10/18/2001 - Football
Ed Malinowski - Whatever It Takes
Ed Malinowski is the offensive captain of the Navy football team.
It took a little time before the senior quarterback from Canonsburg, Pa., stepped into the role of leader instead of follower. However, he is front and center now, standing in the middle of the field for the coin toss at the start of each game.
"Around town, you walk around and people say, ?There?s the captain of the Navy football team,?" Malinowski said. "It?s a good feeling to know that you are out there to start the game representing Navy football."
After an offseason incident, Navy head football coach Charlie Weatherbie called him this summer to let him know of the news.
"I think he was very serious and sincere about taking over the role," Weatherbie said. "He told me I could count on him and that he would do everything to help this football team. I think he has taken that role by the horns and is a very vocal entity of this team."
During a tough and frustrating 2000 season, a leader was born in Malinowski. With guys hanging their heads during the 0-10 start, the 1998 graduate of Chartiers-Houston High School remained positive.
"I told them, ?Keep the faith,?" he said. "I just told the guys that they have played football since they were little kids. Back then, you didn?t play to go to a bowl game, you played because you liked it and that is what you have to remember. Football is still just a game and while you are in it, you might as well make the best of it."
"A Family Affair"
Malinowski grew up playing soccer and participating in gymnastics with his twin sister, Melissa. His father Ed, a football coach at Chartiers-Houston and Dean of Students at Canon-McMillan High School, said his son excelled in all the sports he played that involved a ball.
"He and his sister started gymnastics when they were four and then they started soccer," his father said. "He was a great soccer player. I remember in his first soccer game, he scored four goals."
It wasn?t until Malinowski was 12 years old that he took up the sport of football. His father was against the idea at first, not wanting his young son to get hurt. In the end, the football coach could not resist.
"I can still recall being in the car, and Ed asking me if he could play football," his father said. "I told him I thought it was a bad idea and saw the tears well up in his eyes. I decided that he could play and he became the starting quarterback for his midget team that year."
The rest is history and a football player was born. The following year, Malinowski?s seventh-grade team went undefeated in his second year as the signal caller.
While he was an instant success, it didn?t hurt to have a coach in the family either.
"We would have little coaching clinics in the backyard," Malinowski said. "He would say, ?Okay, you are going to learn how to tackle today and you won?t break your neck. He pointed me in the right direction, like what guys to watch on television. Plus being from Pittsburgh, the Steelers have a great football tradition."
At Chartiers-Houston, Malinowski not only got to hook up with his dad after school at football practice where he was the offensive coordinator and defensive line coach, he took one of his favorite classes under his mother.
"My mother was my sophomore English teacher, so I would walk into class and see my mom," Malinowski said. "My twin sister, my mom and I would all be in the same classroom together. It was strange at first, but after a while, I got used to it. Then, after school, I would come out and go up to the practice field and there was dad, so it was like a family affair in high school."
Malinowski?s twin sister was on the drill team and captain of the volleyball team her senior year, while his younger brother Matt, played on the varsity football team as a sophomore. That year, Malinowski and company captured the Ohio Valley Conference championship.
His father did not work directly with his son as a position coach because he didn?t want people to think he provided the easy road for his son.
"Ed?s senior year, in particular, was the best," his father said. "I didn?t work that much with him on the field, but I took a lot of fun in it. My fear was that if he did well or started, then people would say it was because of me. That never happened and I always tried to remove myself.
"One of the best nights of my life was when we played a team (Fort Cherry) that was undefeated his senior year in the game of the week on television. We beat them 21-0 and both of my sons were on the field that night, my wife was in the stands and my daughter was on the field with the drill team. It was a night I?ll never forget. Ed threw a couple of touchdown passes and had an interception and played a great game. All of us played a part in it which is why it was so special."
From Quarterback to Defensive Back
Malinowski came to Navy as a quarterback in 1998 after playing both quarterback and defensive back in high school. His senior year at Chartiers-Houston, he intercepted eight passes.
In 1998, Malinowski did not see any varsity action as a freshman, but played in five games as a sophomore. He carried the ball 15 times for 51 yards and completed one-of-three passes for 41 yards. In Navy?s 48-41 loss to Hawai?i, he carried the ball seven times for 34 yards before leaving in the third quarter with a separated shoulder.
With standout quarterback Brian Madden ahead of Malinowski on the depth chart, he thought a position change might be the best way to help the team. The summer before his junior season, Malinowski went to Navy head coach Charlie Weatherbie with the idea.
"Ed is a very physical and a very intelligent football player," Weatherbie said. "I felt like he could go over there and possibly be a backup and maybe even start at a safety position. At the time, Madden was the starting quarterback and we felt like we had a young quarterback coming along in Craig Candeto. We felt like at that time, it was a good move for Ed and us."
"I went to Coach Weatherbie and told him I wanted to get on the field and he said that we might be able to use some help on defense," Malinowski said. "I had been recruited a couple of places as a defensive back and thought maybe this is what I should have done at the beginning. I was just going to do what was best for the team."
However, something happened along the way that changed Malinowski?s plans.
On one of the final plays of the 2000 spring game, Madden tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and was lost for the season. With only experienced senior Brian Broadwater and rookie Craig Candeto at quarterback, Weatherbie and the Navy coaching staff decided to move Malinowski back to the offensive side of the football.
Malinowski went through the whole summer getting ready for his new position. It was not until he arrived for camp in August that the coaching staff informed him he was moving back to quarterback.
"I was like, ?Wow. I?m not even ready for this,?" Malinowski said. "I was willing to accept it though, especially with Brian (Broadwater) being there."
In Navy?s second game of the season, Broadwater got hurt at the end of the Mids? 40-13 loss to Georgia Tech. Ready, willing and able, Malinowski was waiting in the wings when Weatherbie came calling before the Boston College game.
"Brian was going to be the guy for us, but against Georgia Tech he got hurt and I had to start the Boston College game. I guess I played well enough that Coach Weatherbie thought I was good enough to be put in there."
In his debut as the Navy signal caller, Malinowski ran for 27 yards on 12 carries and completed eight-of-17 passes for 17 yards without an interception in Navy's 48-7 loss to the Eagles.
Malinowski went on to start the next two games for Navy (TCU and Air Force), while Broadwater returned from injury to platoon with Malinowski in the Air Force game. Broadwater got the nod against Notre Dame, but with the Mids trailing, 31-0, Weatherbie was looking for a spark and looked to Malinowski. Malinowski had a breakout afternoon, pumping life into a lifeless Navy offense by tossing two touchdown passes, including a 46 yarder to receiver Brandon Rampani. He ended the afternoon, five-for-seven for 141 yards.
Instead of competing for the same job, the two quarterbacks worked as a unit for the rest of the season.
"In high school, I was always the starter and had never been in a two-quarterback system before," Malinowski said. "We got into the system and I kind of liked it. It wasn?t like a competition anymore, but like we were cooperating and working together. I had a good example in Brian and it was great to study underneath him. He was kind of what pushed me to step up and lead in that spot."
A Crowded Stable
Last spring, Navy may have been one of, if not the only school in the country to play its spring game with just one quarterback. With Madden still rehabilitating his knee and Candeto out in left field with the Navy baseball team, Malinowski found himself in a unique position.
"It was strange going out there and being the only quarterback to get reps that day," Malinowski said. "If I don?t play in the spring game, then we don?t have one. A lot of people are in the stands wanting to know what is going on with Navy football and they want a good show, especially to get excited for the fall."
Navy fans saw a new look to the Navy offense. First-year offensive coordinator Mark Hudspeth installed his flexbone offense, an offense that is designed to spread the field and create mismatches. It is the same offense Hudspeth and Delta State used to set six NCAA Division II records and rack up 646 yards of total offense in the Statesmen?s 63-34 victory over Bloomsburg in the NCAA Division II National Championship.
Malinowski, Candeto and Madden all returned to the field in August, hoping for a chance to run Hudspeth's new offense.
While Madden sat out the first two games of the 2001 season, Candeto started the Temple and Georgia Tech games. Meanwhile, Malinowski came in off the bench and was effective upon arrival. In the two games, he rushed for 43 yards on 17 carries and completed 15 of his 31 passes for 171 yards and one interception.
Madden returned to the lineup against Boston College for the first time since the 1999 season and turned in a fine afternoon, carrying the ball 32 times for 120 yards and a touchdown. He completed four-out-of-nine for 124 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown strike to receiver Jeff Gaddy on the Mids? opening drive of the game.
Despite Madden taking every snap under center, Malinowski played on the punt and kickoff return teams. Going from one quarterback to three is a change, but Malinowski is confident in his abilities and ready when called upon.
"Right now, I see Madden as the starter and Craig as the number two guy with Ed ready to go when called upon," said Weatherbie. "I think we have three guys that can win for us. It is unfortunate that you can only play one guy at a time."
After a year of learning and seasoning along side Broadwater, Malinowski knows what to expect.
"Coach is pretty set on Brian as the starter, but if he should not have a great game or anything else, I am ready to go," Malinowski said. "If you toss me in, I?ll be able to do the job just as well. That?s just another good thing about having three quarterbacks ? we are interchangeable."
Putting it All Into Perspective
Through all the adversity and challenges Malinowski has endured, he has come a long way to where he is now. From a small school to being in the limelight, he has also gained a wealth of knowledge about himself.
"I have learned that you should never sell yourself short," Malinowski said. "Never think something is too tough or that I won?t be able to do something. I went to a high school with 98 in my graduating class and 45 guys on a Class A football team in Western Pennsylvania and then there I was starting against Boston College, Notre Dame and Rutgers. I have come so far that you are capable of doing whatever you want to, if you put your mind to it."
While football may only be a game, Malinowski will carry his experiences with him no matter where he goes or what he does.
"As a quarterback, I have learned patience and how important it is to not only be a good player but to also be a good person and a leader," he said. "Right now, I would like to be a pilot, but it is something that is kind of up in the air right now. I really want to work in the FBI, but eventually, I kind of want to just teach some English and coach some football like my Dad."