The tragic death of Ryan Mallett was felt across the country, especially by Arkansas football fans, but it perhaps hit hardest in the White Hall community.
He had been there just one year, but the Razorbacks legend had seemingly found his calling as a high school coach and was entering his second season at White Hall High School when he drowned in Florida earlier this week. He was 35.
As a token of their appreciation for his year leading the football program, the Bulldogs are coming together to create a “memorial photobook” to present to Mallett’s mother, Debbie. Here’s the message posted to the White Hall Bulldog Athletics Facebook page:
“Coach Mallett’s time with the Bulldogs was short but his impact was tremendous and will forever live on. This tragedy will forever change the lives of friends, students-athletes, and family. On behalf of the White Hall Bulldogs Football family we would like to gift Coach Mallet’s mom “Debbie Mallett” a token of our love and appreciation for the life that her son gave to us.
“If you would like your photos to be included, send them to Dominique Graydon via Messenger. Photos may include: athletics, team photos, candid photos, etc. Deadline for photos will be Monday.
“Thank you and let’s continue to keep all impacted lifted in prayer. #MallettStrong”
Of course, as a talented player who starred with Arkansas football and played in the NFL, the tributes to Ryan Mallett haven’t been limited to those he coached and came in contact with in White Hall.
Here’s a sampling of some reactions from various people he impacted during his life…
Tributes from Arkansas Football
A fellow heralded local recruit in the Class of 2007 who signed elsewhere only to return home to play for the Razorbacks, running back Broderick Green shared a backfield with Ryan Mallett in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
Now an assistant coach at the high school level himself, Green gave a heartfelt interview with Scorebook Live earlier this week and remembered what he was like as a teammate.
“He was a great teammate and a guy that would always laugh with you and never showed one ounce of cockiness,” Green said. “If you ever made a mistake, he had your back, and he always went to bat for you. He was just a great person to be around and one of the leaders we looked to on our football team.”
After leading Arkansas football to an 8-5 record in his first year as the starter, Mallett helped the Razorbacks go 10-3 and reach their first and only BCS bowl game.
The man calling the plays back then was Bobby Petrino, who shared a lengthy post on Twitter about his former quarterback:
“I am heartbroken to hear of the passing of one of the greatest competitors I’ve had the privilege of coaching. Not only was Ryan a great leader and teammate on the field, he was a thoughtful and generous person off the field as well.
“Personally, I know how much he loved being a hog. I along with thousands of others will always remember 4th and 3 in Little Rock against LSU when he made the perfect pass to Joe to seal the win!
“My heart goes out to his family and to all of Hog nation tonight. Gone but never forgotten. May you rest in peace buddy. Love you!”
In just two seasons of playing – he had to sit out the 2008 season because of old NCAA transfer rules – Mallett broke the single-season and career records for passing yards and touchdown passes for Arkansas football.
His single-season marks (3,869 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2010) still stand, but his career records have since been surpassed – by Tyler Wilson and Brandon Allen, respectively.
All four records were previously held by Clint Stoerner, who waited a couple of days before writing Mallett a letter that he shared via Twitter.
“I remember the first time I met you, you had just transferred to Arkansas. When I walked in the room, you lit up, paid mad respect & showed big love. I could tell in that moment, you were raised right & were a good kid.
“You went on to play a lil ball, win a few games & break every one of my damn records. You coulda left me 1 brother.
“I remember the last time I saw you, your long armed ass grabbed me as I walked in the suite, hugged me & told me you loved me.
“You went from a good kid that was raised right to a close friend with a bond that very few share. I love & miss you brother.
“Too soon, not fair, no words, only prayer!!
“Rest high 1-5, rest high!!”
Other Tributes for Ryan Mallett
Other people who posted remembrances of Ryan Mallett ranged from politicians to former NFL players to those he came across as a high school coach.
Rep. Steve Womack:
My condolences to the Mallett family and their loved ones. A former Razorback and White Hall head football coach, Ryan Mallett was a remarkable player and committed leader. I’m saddened to hear of his passing.
Mountain Home high school coach Steve Ary, under whom Mallett worked as an offensive coordinator from 2020-21:
Brady Barnett, a former player of Mallett’s at Mountain Home who has signed to play at Harding:
White Hall defensive coordinator Hunter Vincent:
Former Arkansas wide receiver Jarius Wright, who caught passes from Mallett with the Razorbacks and served as his offensive coordinator at White Hall last season:
Legendary quarterback Tom Brady, whom Mallett was a backup to with the New England Patriots:
Brady wasn’t the only former Patriot to chime in with eulogy on Brady.
“Tough one to swallow,” former New England wideout Julian Edelman tweeted. “Thoughts are with the family. #RIPRyanMallet.”
“Rest in peace Ryan Mallet!” James White, who had also been a former Patriots teammate, tweeted. “Gone way too soon, sending my condolences to his family!”
And here’s Former NFL punter and current sports media personality Pat McAfee:
And finally, here’s Greg McElroy, the former Alabama and NFL quarterback turned ESPN college football analyst:
More coverage of Ryan Mallett and Arkansas football from BoAS…