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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 5

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Page 38 of 92

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED OLUME 26, ISSUE 5 39 cares for them. He's really interested in what they have to talk about outside of football, their family or what they have going on in their lives. He takes an interest in that and it's real. There's nothing phony about him. He really enjoys people." I t was an obvious moment to be a proud big brother. The Saints had advanced to the Super Bowl, and Terry Malone played a key piece, helping prepare the tight ends and the offense each week throughout a sea- son that included a franchise-record 13 regular-season victories. Dan Malone, the oldest of Paul and Miriam's six kids, was invited with most of the rest of Terry's extended family down to Miami to share in the festivities. It was a perfect pay-off for all the support and sacrifice the family had made during his coaching career, Terry Malone said. And after New Orleans pulled the upset, as players took turns hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, Terry Malone's family was right there with him on the field, celebrating under a confetti shower. It was a glorious, rewarding moment for all in- volved. Especially Dan. He'd met Terry at the team hotel upon arrival to the city to tell his younger brother what an accomplishment it was just to be at the Super Bowl. A comment to which Terry promptly responded — with "absolute fire coming out of his eyes," Dan says — that there was no happy-to-be-here mentality, that anything short of a victory would be devastating. "I'm not happy we made it until we win," Terry told him. So when New Orleans did, beating the five-point fa- vorite Peyton Manning-led Colts, Terry Malone could have gloated. Could have reminded his oldest brother of the conversation. But he didn't. He just smiled and laughed and was ea- ger to share his joy. "We have fun with it," Terry Malone said of the jour- ney. "I've got such a tremendously strong support system that the wins and the losses, they don't make my struc- ture buckle at all. It's strong." And that is really what makes Dan beam. Over the years, Terry's family has been gathered in parking lots waiting for him to exit after games that didn't finish in resounding ways. The family would be devastated after a loss, commiserating in the residual disappointment. But then out walked Terry, head high and smiling. "That's inspirational," Dan Malone said. "It's some- thing that walks the talk. I've been more proud of him at moments when his team just gave it their all and came up a little short than when we were down in Miami after winning the Super Bowl. Because at that moment, every- body is your friend and it's easy to be smiling and waving at the crowd. But the choices that people make when the chips are down define them. "My brother is pure gold." That'd be something Miriam, who's 87 and still lives in the Detroit area, would say. She's Terry's biggest supporter. She's the one who'll flat-out say he's the best football coach in America and the best son in the world. When she does, Terry just kind of shakes his head, thinking, "Gosh, she's out of control." He would never dare hold himself in such high esteem. In fact, he doesn't seem interested in thinking about himself much at all. That'd mean he'd be putting himself first, instead of others. And that's not how Terry Malone was built. "I don't feel as though I am anything extraordinary," Terry Malone said. "I think I'm a guy who is loyal and works hard, but very, very fortunate to be in this posi- tion. I don't feel as though anything I've done deserves a whole lot of applause. "I've been very blessed with a lot of great opportuni- ties. I'm very, very thankful for those opportunities and the experiences I've had." j "There is nothing stronger than gentleness." — John Wooden

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