Former LB Malast Joins Wrestling Staff

Former Rutgers team captain Kevin Malast became the latest Scarlet Knight to join the coaching ranks this week, when the school hired him as the wrestling team's strength and conditioning coach. Malast, who was a start wrestler in high school, spoke with about the excitement surrounding a new potential career path and return to his alma mater.

Make no mistake about it. Kevin Malast has not given up on his NFL aspirations. What the 2008 Rutgers football team captain did do this week, however, was apply one of his college skills to the real world.


While Malast continues his training, the former Rutgers linebacker and high school wrestling star will be a part of Scott Goodale's wrestling staff as the strength and conditioning coach. Two days into the job, Malast said it is a perfect fit.

"It's a really great opportunity" Malast said. "I'm pumped. I've already had two workouts with the guys out there and they're awesome to work with. I mean, they listen. They're hard working. They're going to trust you and do what you tell them to do without even thinking twice. That's why I love the wrestlers. They just get after it and I love working with guys like that."

Malast, who worked out for the Oakland Raiders last week, spent parts of the last three years with the Chicago Bears and Tennessee Titans as a reserve linebacker.

Signed by the Bears after the 2009 NFL Draft, Malast learned under Brian Urlacher for parts of two seasons before parting ways with the Bears. With the Titans, Malast spent time with former Rutgers teammates Jason McCourty and Kenny Britt.

Still pursuing his dream, Malast sees his job with the wrestling team as the best of both worlds.

"As long as I'm still getting these calls, I'm going to keep going," Malast said. "I still firmly believe that at this point in my life, I can still play in the NFL. I'm going to continue to do that until teams stop calling. I want no regrets when I'm done with this, but why not help out the wrestling team, which I always supported while I was a player at Rutgers."

Athletic Director Tim Pernetti placed a clause in Malast's contract that allows him to leave his coaching duties at any time if called out for an opportunity in the NFL.

Like UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar, Malast works with Goodale and the wrestling team in addition to his own goals and workouts.

"That's what's beneficial about the job is that I'm helping them out to the best of my ability, but there's still a lot of downtime," Malast said. "I can't work these guys out for five hours a day. I train them on College Ave and then I go over to the Hale [Center] and do my own training.

"I figure I have to make value of my time. I can't just train every day and just hope something happens I figure I might as well get back involved and get back into it. I have a passion for coaching and teaching athletes. I figured I might as well give it a shot."

Malast credits three coaches with the opportunity presented to him as strength and conditioning coach, with the first being Goodale, who initially broached the idea to him after Malast parted ways with the Bears.

"He is the most exciting guy," Malast said. "He's pumped up all the time and I love that about him. He's got a great attitude and a positive outlook for his program. It's really no surprise of how good they have become. I've been close with Coach Goodale since he was at Jackson because I went to Manchester Township, which is a bordering town. He's always been that exciting guy. He took that to Rutgers and it's taking off."

One of the most exciting parts of the job, Malast said, is the chance to work with one of his mentors, Rutgers football strength and conditioning coach Jay Butler.

". I've learned so much from Jay from my time as a player," Malast said. "He taught me so much about taking care of my body the right way. I actually credit a major part of my success towards him because I came in there weighing like 200 pounds and I left at 240. That's credit to Jay and his staff. If I can pass that on to the wrestling team, I'll be happy."

And of course, football coach Greg Schiano is excited for Malast's decision, saying he has a definite future as a coach.

"There's certain guys you just see and say, ‘That guy's going to be a heck of a coach,'" Schiano said. "There are other guys you see and say, ‘That guy would never do the work it takes to be a coach.' Kevin's one of those guys that just gets totally into something. You have to have a little bit of an off-center personality to do this."

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