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Ray Malavasi

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Title: Ray Malavasi  
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Subject: 1978 Los Angeles Rams season, 1979 Los Angeles Rams season, 1980 Los Angeles Rams season, 1981 Los Angeles Rams season, 1982 Los Angeles Rams season
Collection: 1930 Births, 1987 Deaths, Army Black Knights Football Players, Buffalo Bills Coaches, Deaths from Myocardial Infarction, Denver Broncos Coaches, Denver Broncos Executives, Distinguished Eagle Scouts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats Coaches, Los Angeles Rams Coaches, Los Angeles Rams Head Coaches, Minnesota Golden Gophers Football Coaches, Mississippi State Bulldogs Football Coaches, Oakland Raiders Coaches, People from Passaic, New Jersey, United States Football League Coaches, Wake Forest Demon Deacons Football Coaches
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Ray Malavasi

Ray Malavasi
Date of birth November 8, 1930
Place of birth Passaic, NJ
Date of death December 15, 1987 (age 57)
Place of death Santa Ana, CA
Career information
Position(s) OG
College United States Military Academy
Mississippi State University
Career history
As administrator
1962–66 Denver Broncos (personnel director)
As coach
1954–55 Fort Belvoir
1956–57 Minnesota
1958–60 Memphis State
1961 Wake Forest
1963–1965 Denver Broncos (DL)
1966 Denver Broncos (OL/interim HC)
1967–68 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
1969–70 Buffalo Bills (DC)
1971–72 Oakland Raiders (LB)
1973-1977 Los Angeles Rams (DC)
1978–82 Los Angeles Rams
1984 Oakland Invaders
1984 Los Angeles Express
1987 Australian national team
Career stats
Wins–Losses 44–41
Winning Pct .518
  • Coaching stats at Pro Football Reference

Ray Malavasi (November 8, 1930 – December 15, 1987) was an football coach who served as head coach of two National Football League teams: the Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Rams.

Born in Passaic, New Jersey,[1] Malavasi grew up in Clifton, Passaic's neighbor, and played for Clifton High School.

After Malavasi graduated in 1948 he entered the U.S. Military Academy, starting at offensive guard for the Black Knight football team. Under head coach Earl Blaik and line coach Vince Lombardi, Malavasi played two years, with Blaik rating him as the greatest line prospect during his tenure at the Academy. That potential disappeared when Malavasi was one of 90 cadets who left in the wake of a cheating scandal in August 1951.

Malavasi left to attend Mississippi State University, earning a degree in engineering while serving as an assistant under head coach Murray Warmath in 1952 and also receiving an Army ROTC commission. In 1953, he tried out and was released by the NFL Philadelphia Eagles, then served as line coach with the Fort Belvoir army unit for two years beginning in 1954.

Upon his release in 1956, Malavasi accepted an assistant's role with the University of Minnesota, spending two seasons with the Golden Gophers until taking a similar position with Memphis State University in 1958. Three years in Tennessee led to a single year with the Wake Forest University Demon Deacons in 1961, followed by his first professional position the following year: personnel director of the American Football League's Denver Broncos.

In 1963, Malavasi also took on the duties of defensive line coach for the Broncos, and shifted to the offensive line prior to the start of the 1966 season. After Denver dropped their first two games, head coach Mac Speedie was fired, with Malavasi chosen to replace him. In the final 12 games, Malavasi managed just four wins and was let go in favor of Lou Saban at the conclusion of the season.

For the next two years, Malavasi coached on the defensive side of the ball with the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, then accepted the defensive line assistant's position with the Buffalo Bills on February 3, 1969. Just over two years later, Malavasi left to work for the Oakland Raiders, but resigned after just two years, citing the frustration with the team keeping him from advancing his career.

Malavasi's resignation caused controversy when Raiders' head coach George Allen.

However, after just two exhibition games, Allen was fired and Malavasi became the team's head coach, then led the team to their sixth straight NFC West Title with 12–4 record, reaching the NFC Championship game. The following year, the team barely finished above .500 with a 9–7 mark, but won the weak NFC Western Division. In the playoffs, the team upset the Cowboys, then shut down the upstart Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9–0 in the conference title game to give the franchise its first Super Bowl berth ever. After entering the fourth quarter with a lead over the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers, the Rams' upset bid died when they dropped a 31–19 decision in Super Bowl XIV.

An 11–5 mark in 1980 was a two-game improvement over 1979, but it was only good enough for second place behind the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC West, and the Rams fell in the wild-card round to the Cowboys. The following year, the rise of the San Francisco 49ers ended the Rams' reign and saddled them with a 6–10 record. Following a 2–7 mark during the strike-shortened 1982 NFL season, the worst record in the 14-team NFC, Malavasi was dismissed on January 4, 1983.

Malavasi served as a consultant and unofficial spokesman for the proposed International Football League, a league that served the dual purpose of introducing professional football abroad as well as serving as an antagonist to the Oakland Invaders in early 1984. He left that position just after the start of the season to become defensive coordinator of the league's Los Angeles Express, but the financial woes of the team ended his brief tenure in the final weeks of the season.

Malavasi would never again be on the sidelines for an NFL team but he did coach the first ever Australian national American Football team in 1987. The Australian Kookaburras did a week-long training camp at Dominguez Hills in California before heading off for a tour of Europe where they played three games. Malavasi was assisted with the team by Johnny Johnson. Malavasi died of a sudden heart attack on December 15, 1987, aged 57, less than two months after returning from that tour.

Appeared on and episode of Fantasy Island as himself

See also

Other American Football League players, coaches and contributors

References

  1. ^ " Ray Malavasi Is Dead; Former Coach of Rams", The New York Times, December 16, 1987. Accessed November 22, 2007.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dick McCabe
Buffalo Bills Defensive Coordinator
1969–1970
Succeeded by
Doc Urich
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