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Malloy, gone but not forgotten: Checking in with the Cross Country team

Pictured: Head Coach Colin Inglis and the rest of the Cross Country team assembling for practice, October 16, 2019.

by: Erin Tanner

News and Sports

On Thursday, May 2, 2019, Windsor lost a beloved member of our community, Gary Malloy. He had been in Oregon for a track meet with a handful of his runners when he passed away suddenly and without warning.

That day, Lancers lost a mentor, friend, and father figure. More than this, the Cross Country runners were left without their leader.  In September, Colin Inglis, the track and field program’s head coach, expanded his role to include the head coach of cross country.

“It was a huge shock,” Inglis acknowledged while commenting on Malloy’s passing. “Still to this day, there’s a disbelief that he’s not there.”

Malloy was a friend to Inglis – he had even helped him move from Toronto to Barrie once – making his passing even more difficult for the new head coach to work past and cope with.

Inglis noted the strength of the cross country community has helped the team grieve and move forward. After Malloy’s passing, alumni and current runners gathered together. Former athletes came back to the University to remember Malloy and offered condolences and support to the current athletes. According to Inglis, this reinforced the positive impact Malloy made on so many students at the University of Windsor.

“Obviously, it was a big, emotional kind of struggle,” Mitch Cauchi, one of the captains of the team, spoke candidly on Malloy’s passing.

Cauchi mentioned that since the team was separated during May – due to the Oregon meet – the initial coping process was particularly difficult; he missed the connection to his team. Cauchi emphasized how important the bond between him and his fellow runners has been this season. Since coming back this fall, he has noticed just how influential the relationships with his teammates have been and how they have helped him cope with the loss of Malloy.

Undoubtedly, the loss of a coach can be hard for a team to cope with and runners like Brendan Simone looked up to Malloy for inspiration and leadership for years.

“Gary was the father figure of my cross country career, he was a person I could go to about literally anything,” Simone said as he reminisced over the years he was able to work with Malloy.

Simone had Malloy as a coach throughout high school and into his university career and recognized that he had been influential to his development as an athlete.

Without his former coach, Simone worries that the team does not have a true leadership figure to look to and any successor of his, temporary or full-time, will have some big shoes to fill. Malloy, while not physically with the Lancers, is still a significant aspect of the Cross Country program. He had been such an important member of the Lancer community for so long, it will take some time for the team to transition to Inglis’ leadership.

“What would Gary do?” Cauchi hears this phrase in the back of his mind periodically, demonstrating that Malloy is still a guiding figure for the team.

While Malloy may be gone, he is certainly not forgotten. Through his legacy, Malloy remains a fundamental part of the cross country team at the University of Windsor to this day, inspiring the runners to achieve their best. The coach’s passing has cast a shadow over the Lancers’ cross country program and the struggle to carry on will continue. Without Malloy, the runners will have to forge their own paths.

 

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