Latest Chris Maloney News
Aug 27, 2021
Gracious thank-yous kept pouring from Chris Maloney’s lips after an emotional team meeting Thursday morning. On the last day of training camp, Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi awarded Maloney a scholarship after three seasons as a walk-on defensive end. That ended the need to write tuition checks and triggered a barrage of thanks from Maloney toward those who have helped him since he arrived on campus in 2018. • First, he thanked former Pitt center Jimmy Morrissey, a teammate at La Salle College High School, who invited him into the football facility and introduced him to the right people. • His current teammates, who kept pushing him and always had his back, he said. • Defensive line coach Charlie Partridge was prominent on that list, too. Partridge didn’t care if Maloney had no scholarship offers coming out of high school. “(He) always had confidence in me,” Maloney said. “That definitely kept me going.” • And he didn’t forget mom, Christine Maloney. “She’s been my rock here since I came to Pitt as a walk-on,” he said, “all the challenges that entails. I couldn’t have done it without her.” But he also made mention of the one man who — more than anyone — made it possible. Chris Maloney, himself. “Since I didn’t come out of high school with any offers, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it,” he said, chatting with reporters after practice. “That was a subconscious factor in my head that I wanted to prove I could play D-I, Power-5 football.” His journey began when he visited Pitt, looking for a place to go to college but not intending to play football. During the visit, he texted Morrissey, an old friend who suggested he take a look at Pitt’s football facilities. “Not thinking anything of it,” Maloney said. Morrissey showed Maloney’s high school highlights — he was a three-time Philadelphia Catholic League all-star — to Karlo Zovko, Pitt’s assistant director of player personnel. Zovko showed him around, kept in contact and eventually Partridge offered a preferred walk-on spot. Maloney has been with the team since the 2018 season, also playing some tight end and fullback and appearing in four games, three last season. He admitted it wasn’t always easy to keep going. “There are days or struggles when it’s hot and it’s summer and you’re in practice and you’re not getting the reps you want and you’re not where you want to be,” Maloney said. “There are definitely days where, ‘I really don’t want to do this. I don’t want to really be out here.’ ” But teammates, coaches and family kept encouraging him, he stuck to his convictions and it all came to fruition Thursday morning in a team meeting. “Narduzzi brought people up to the front of the room to explain what they can do better in practice,” Maloney said. “He brought me up, and I explained about fundamentals on the D-line. “When I was done speaking, I looked around and I turned and there was big picture on the projector that said, ‘You’re on scholarship,’ and I just kind of lost it. An emotional morning.” His first call was to Christine. “She was ecstatic. She was crying. I was crying, too,” Maloney said. Said Narduzzi: “He works his tail off. I’m proud of him.” Maloney said earning a scholarship was more of a hope than an expectation, but he “absolutely envisioned it.” “I don’t think you can do what we do every day and think, ‘Oh, this is just to hang out and play football,’ ” he said. “I always worked towards trying to get this as a goal. Coach Partridge was happy with my play. I knew if I kept going, I would eventually reach my goal.” He said the culture at Pitt enables walk-ons. “Everyone here isn’t too prideful to learn from each other,” he said. “You can learn anything from everyone. You definitely don’t shrug off the walk-ons because they can come out here and make you look foolish as a starter. “I think the team culture is that walk-ons definitely have something to offer to the team, definitely can give something of value to the team.” As an example, he said he remembers working on the scout team as a freshman in 2018 and going against offensive lineman Alex Bookser, a three-year starter. “He really didn’t like me,” Maloney said. “I was giving him a hard time.” Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter . Support Local Journalism and help us continue covering the stories that matter to you and your community.