Washington Huskies

Ikaika Malloe cherishing his second chance with UW football

Free safety Ikaika Malloe laughs with Husky coach Jim Lambright during two-a-day practices at Husky Stadium in August 1994.
Free safety Ikaika Malloe laughs with Husky coach Jim Lambright during two-a-day practices at Husky Stadium in August 1994.

Nearly 15 years ago, the last time Ikaika Malloe was around Montlake, he was doing what most 20-somethings do to survive in Seattle.

He was renting a place with a roommate.

And now that Malloe is the richer, recently hired defensive line coach at the University of Washington?

Same thing — he lives with former college roommate Ink Aleaga, with whom he played football for the Huskies in the mid-1990s.

“The market (to buy a house) has changed since the last time I was here,” said Malloe, who was an assistant at Utah State for two seasons before being hired in December to replace Jeff Choate.

To be fair, Malloe has time. His wife and three children are expected to remain in Logan, Utah, to finish out the school year.

“I am (Aleaga’s) roommate until his wife says get out of the house,” Malloe said.

Malloe is one of two new full-time assistant coaches hired by coach Chris Petersen since the end of last season. Bush Hamdan is the new UW receivers coach.

But Malloe’s return has special significance. The Hawaii native played here, starting 11 games at safety and outside linebacker in 1995 for a squad that shared the Pac-10 Conference title with USC.

Malloe graduated in 1997, and was a graduate assistant and worked in the UW football office until 2002.

He was also part of a gambling scandal that marred the program’s reputation for years.

Malloe admitted to investigators he had organized office betting pools for NCAA basketball tournament games that many UW coaches participated in.

Ultimately, the incident led to the dismissal of former coach Rick Neuheisel.

Malloe also left the school in 2002, taking a job as the special teams coordinator at Western Illinois, a Football Championship Subdivision program.

Now 41, with plenty of life perspective under his belt, Malloe isn’t sidestepping that painful chapter of his past.

“You can’t help but think about the last thing you did here. And I put a stain on our program. I was part of … a scandal that I am not proud of,” Malloe said after spring practice Friday. “But I had an opportunity to learn from it. It took me seven different schools to continue to get better.

“What I have done right now with the things I have been a part of is to teach younger kids to be proactive, and be ahead of the game, like in terms if they see something wrong, nip it in the butt.”

Malloe inherits an up-and-coming position group with the likes of junior Elijah Qualls and sophomores Vita Vea and Greg Gaines returning with playing experience.

He also has Jaylen Johnson and Lakes High School graduate Benning Potoa’e also in the mix for the starting defensive tackle spot vacated by Taniela Tupou.

“It is exciting to have such a young group,” Malloe said. “It is really jumping on the train (as the position coach) and continuing what they’ve already learned.”

Malloe credits former UW coach Don James, defensive coordinator Jim Lambright and position coach Randy Hart as his biggest influences as a player.

What Malloe sees in Petersen is what he admired about the legendary James.

“It is all about building the whole person,” Malloe said.

EXTRA POINTS

Friday was the first day UW players were in pads for spring camp. … Defensive back Brandon Beaver (knee), defensive lineman Jason Scrempos (shoulder) and running back Austin Joyner (knee) were all nonparticipants as they rehab from serious injuries. … Wide receiver Brayden Lenius (knee) did return to practice Friday. … Defensive back Darren Gardenhire made a reach-back, acrobatic interception during one-on-one drills at Husky Stadium. It was easily the play of the day. … Shelton High product David Ajamu continues to make eye-opening catches at tight end. Offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith raves about Ajamu’s burst and pass-catching radius. “He can find a role,” Smith said. … Saturday morning practice is closed to media.

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