Similar to Clemson, the Arizona State football program is mourning the loss of one of the Sun Devils’ greatest players ever.
Friday evening, the Arizona State football announced in a press release that Benny Malone had died earlier this week following a lengthy battle with diabetes. Malone was 68 years old.
From the Arizona State football program’s release:
Malone starred at Arizona State from 1971-73, playing running back under legendary Head Coach Frank Kush. He was a key part of one of the most successful eras in the history of the Sun Devil Football program. Arizona State compiled an incredible 32-4 record, winning the Fiesta Bowl in each of the three seasons that Malone was a member of the backfield.
In 1983, Benny Malone was inducted into the Sun Devil Athletics Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Despite his career ending over 40 years ago, some of Malone’s incredible rushing numbers help him remain near the top of the school record book. Before Eno Benjamin’s 312-yard effort against Oregon State in 2018, it was Malone who held the single-game record for most rushing yards. Known for his explosiveness dating back to his days as a high school track star, he held the program record for 45 years. During a record-setting day on the road at Oregon State (Oct. 27, 1973), Malone ran for 250 yards (on only 24 carries), breaking Leon Burton’s 18-year-old school record. Malone also rushed for five touchdowns that day, matching another school record at the time. The 250-yard performance was one of ten 100-yard rushing games in his career, putting him in the Top-10 in program history for the category.
Malone finished his outstanding career with 2,328 rushing yards on 347 carries, scoring 25 touchdowns. He enjoyed a breakout senior season in 1973 that saw him run for 1,129 yards, joining an exclusive club of Sun Devils to finish a season with at least 1,000 yards rushing. Teaming up with fellow Sun Devil Athletics Hall of Famer Woody Green, the duo form one of the most feared backfields in the nation. In 1973, they combined for 2,499 yards, the most total yardage by a pair of running backs in the same season in school history. Malone immediately showed off his big-play ability in his first season on the Arizona State varsity team, rushing for 857 yards on 8.2 yards/attempt in 1971.
The Malone name is all over the Sun Devil Football record book. Benny Malone and his brother, Art, represent one of the most iconic sets of siblings in the history of Sun Devil Athletics. Art Malone, who passed away in 2012, played at ASU from 1967-69 and is celebrated as one of the greatest running backs to ever wear the Maroon & Gold. Benny followed in his brother’s footsteps, putting together one of the best careers ever by a Sun Devil running back.
According to the school, Malone is survived by his wife, Laura, who was his childhood sweetheart, seven children and nine grandchildren.