Jace Malek in Focus
When the University of Idaho decided to honor fullback Jace Malek’s football scholarship following his cancer diagnosis, they chose to honor more than a Spokane, Washington student-athlete.
Malek was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in late January. Since then, doctors have had to amputate Malek’s right leg after finding a tumor in his hip. Despite that, Idaho head football coach Paul Petrino said that Malek would join the team as an undergraduate coach.
“Jace is a great young man that has all kinds of mental and physical toughness,” Petrino said. “Any time he comes around the team, he inspires us. We send him letters all the time and try to inspire him. So, hopefully we can help him too. He’s just a great young man that we pray for every day.”
Malek has expressed his passion for the outdoors, football and a future in coaching. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to study in college when he entered UI in fall 2015, but he knew that since day one, he wanted to be a Vandal.
“I was always thinking Idaho first. I was committed to UI before high school season even started,” he said. “They recruited hard and kept in touch the entire time. As for school, I haven’t decided what I’m going to study quite yet, but I grew up in the country and I’d probably like to check out UI’s agricultural program or maybe study forestry.”
As a member of the Vandal family, the coaches, staff, leadership and fans of the Vandal Athletics Program are rooting for Malek to heal quickly and join his teammates. Whether that support is shown through monetary donations or letters of encouragement from teammates, the Malek family has been received with open hearts.
“It’s been great how everything came together,” Malek said. “People have been supporting me with fundraisers, and everyone in the community has come together to support me.”