It is a sad time for Sun Devil Nation, as one of the most dazzling gridiron performers in school history, Art Malone, passed away on July 27th. He was 64.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, August 4th, at 10 am, at Resthaven Park Mortuary & Cemetery in Phoenix.
Malone remains to this day the seventh leading rusher in ASU history, and was inducted into the ASU Hall of Fame in 1979.
His Sun Devil story began after a decorated career at Santa Cruz High School earned him a scholarship to play for Frank Kush in Tempe.
A strong and speedy 190-pound runner, Malone first saw action in 1967. He ran for 448 yards and five touchdowns in a reserve role behind starter Max Anderson. However, with Anderson gone in 1968, the burden fell to Malone and he responded in a big time way.
Malone got stronger as the season went on, topping 100-yards in six of the last seven, including five straight, a school record. His eight 100-yard games are still tied for the school record, and he was held under 96 yards just once.
Malone's month of November that season was the stuff of legend. He ran for 239 yards against New Mexico, a total that was just four shy of the ASU single-game record. The next week against Utah, he ran for 200. That 439 yards in consecutive games is still a school record. For good measure, he ended the year with 186 yards in ASU's win over Arizona.
In helping ASU to an 8-2 record, he earned first-team All-WAC honors. His 1,431 yards in 1968 are still the third-highest total in school history, as are his 15 rushing scores that year. Oregon State head coach Dee Andros said of Malone, "We probably feared Art Malone as much as any back we faced all last season." Considering OSU faced O.J. Simpson, that's high praise indeed.
In 1969, he teamed with the speedy David Buchanan to form a potent duo that combined for 1,710 yards that powered ASU to another 8-2 finish. He also earned a second-team All-American spot. Malone finished his ASU career with 2,649 yards (7th all-time) and 28 touchdowns (recently passed by Cameron Marshall for 5th).
The following April, he was drafted in the 2nd round (39th overall) by the Atlanta Falcons. He played seven seasons in the NFL, five in Atlanta and two with the Philadelphia Eagles, finishing with 2,457 yards and 19 touchdowns rushing, and was effective as a receiver, catching 161 passes for 1,465 yards and six touchdowns.
In 1971, his younger brother Benny would join the team and go on to set the single-game records for yards (250) and touchdowns (five) during his own ASU Hall of Fame career.
Our deepest condolences go out to the Malone family and Sun Devils everywhere.