Malone wins Ken Hubbs

Colton football player Derrick Malone just won the Ken Hubbs Athlete of the Year award, becoming the fourth Yellowjacket to do so. The story is below.

Being a Colton High School student, Derrick Malone has a deep appreciation for the athletic and philantrophic achievements of Ken Hubbs, the 1959 CHS graduate and 1962 MLB Rookie of the Year for the Chicago Cubs.

So when Ken Hubbs Foundation President Ron Doty was reciting Malone’s resume in the unveiling of the 2010 Ken Hubbs Athlete of the Year Award Monday at the Elks Club in San Bernardino, the football player’s heart skipped a beat.

“My heart was racing so fast,” Malone said. “I knew of Ken Hubbs since my freshman year at Colton because his name is on the gymnasium and all of the awards he won but ever since I found out more about him junior year, I’ve wanted to be just like him. To even be mentioned anywhere close to him is an honor and I’m speechless.”

Malone beat out a competitive field of 21 male athletes from around San Bernardino County thanks to an unparalleled combination of athletic and academic achievements and community activism in which Malone – an all-CIF-SS player on both offense and defense – coached Junior All-American football and volunteered in feeding the homeless at soup kitchens.

It’s that service, more than any accomplishment on the football field, that gives Malone, who signed to play football at the University of Oregon, joy.

“My mother really inspired me to help people and really taught me the importance of that,” Malone said. “I love coaching the kids and I love helping, just like Ken did. It puts a smile on my face. To even be considered half the man Ken Hubbs was is humbling.”

Malone’s mother, Candice Allen, and grandmother, Glenda Edwards, had exceptionally big smiles as well-wishers flooded Malone for pictures, hugs and handshakes after the ceremony, basking in their son’s achievement.

“We didn’t have any idea that this would happen,” Allen said. “When I heard them talking about Junior All-American football I started to get excited because Derrick loves working with the kids. I’m just so happy right now.”

Also beaming was Colton athletic director Harold Strauss, who coached Malone on the gridiron before retiring at the conclusion of the past season. Strauss has seen one of his players win the award before, as current USC running back Allen Bradford was honored in 2006, but the ceremony with Malone holds a special place in his heart.

“Derrick is such a good, humble kid and really is shocked when he receives all the attention and honors,” Strauss said. “Being a Colton guy, this means a lot and being my last season as Colton’s coach, it means even more. It’s just a great night and he deserves every bit of it.”

Malone becomes the fourth Yellowjacket to receive the award since the current format was instituted in 1973. Along with Bradford in 2006, Tony Olivarria took the award in 1975 while Rex Blackwell was honored in 1983.

Twenty other athletes from County schools were also feted at the Ken Hubbs banquet. Joining Malone were fellow football players Josh Shirley (Kaiser), Andrew Hudson (Redlands East Valley), Damon Ogburn (Arroyo Valley), Ryan Coleman (Carter) and Trevor Pascoe (Miller). Shirley, Hudson and Ogburn all attained scholarships to Division I schools, with Shirley heading to UCLA, Hudson going to Washington and Ogburn going to San Jose State.

Eisenhower basketball player Alex Varner, who won the John Wooden Award last month, was honored along with San Bernardino basketball player Devonte Chattman. Distance runners Dustin Fay (Rim of the World), Greg Valdivia (San Gorgonio), Jake Murie (Big Bear), Alex Saunders (Aquinas) and Corey Jennings (Summit) were honored, as were baseball players Wyatt Padgett (Yucaipa) and Tanner Clark (Cajon).

Other athletes honored Monday include soccer players Richard Marquez (Bloomington) and Hugo Cardoza (Fontana), swimmers Canon Castro (Pacific) and Joe Barich (Redlands), wrestler Giordan Porter (Rialto) and volleyball player Will Quanstrom (Arrowhead Christian).