- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Kate and Chris Malveaux are newlyweds, but on the field all will be fair in love and … softball … when the couple is reunited in opposite dugouts this weekend.

On Valentine’s Day.

Chris Malveaux, associate head coach for Bradley University’s softball team, will help guide his side in a tournament at New Mexico State.

In the NMS dugout will be his wife, Kate, a former BU catcher and graduate volunteer coach who now is an assistant coach for the Aggies.

It might very well be the first time a married couple has coached against each other in the NCAA. No one is really sure.

“I know this much, when we’re done, one of us is going to be really happy - and I plan for it to be me,” Kate Malveaux said, laughing. “And in the postgame handshake line, he better have some flowers for me.”

BU will play New Mexico State on Saturday and Sunday. The Malveauxs haven’t seen each other since early January, and this is the second softball season they have spent long distance.

“We’re excited to get the chance to see each other,” said Kate Malveaux, 25. “We love our jobs, and we understand each other’s schedules and we deal with the distance and have great support from our teams, families and friends.

“It works out.”

The former Kate Singler was a BU catcher in 2010-11, and had 12 career home runs with a .457 slugging percentage and earned all-Missouri Valley Conference honors in her two years there.

The Witt, Ill., native then joined the BU staff as a volunteer assistant coach in 2012 and 2013, and earned a degree in secondary education.

“It’s weird, but we don’t really know when we started dating,” said Chris Malveaux, 37, a Houston native.

“We’re from different environments, I’m a city guy and she grew up on a farm. But we ended up on the BU coaching staff together and we just started to hang out, spending time. After a while, it felt like it was going somewhere.”

Chris Malveaux is a huge Texas A&M; football fan, and he took his future wife to the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl game in Atlanta on New Year’s Eve.

A&M; rallied for a 52-48 win over Duke, and in the aftermath of 67,946 fans celebrating with confetti flying in the Georgia Dome as midnight arrived, Chris Malveaux sealed the deal.

“Yes, he’s romantic,” Kate Malveaux said. “He had been uneasy, seemed nervous all night and I thought it was because of the game and he’s such a big fan of the team. Then I realized suddenly that wasn’t why.

“The game ended and people were leaving and he got down on one knee and he tried to propose, he had this shirt that read ‘Will you marry me?’ but I told him it didn’t count if he didn’t say the words.”

He did. And she said yes. They were married on Dec. 20. By then, Kate Malveaux had left BU for a chance to coach at New Mexico State. She became a full-time assistant there this season.

“Every summer we go home to her family reunion, and they have this fun hillbilly golf outing and we always end up on opposite sides, and there’s some serious trash talk going on,” Chris Malveaux said. “She’s extremely competitive and doesn’t like to lose.”

Neither does her husband. Chris Malveaux was head coach at McNeese State and an assistant at Louisiana-Lafayatte before joining Bradley in 2011.

At BU he specializes in working with the hitters. Last season Bradley posted its highest batting average (.285) since 1995 and scored a single-season record 261 runs.

The Braves launched 41 home runs, smashing the single-season record of 26. BU also set school records for RBIs(237), total bases (635), slugging percentage (.410) and walks (171).

“I’m hoping,” Chris Malveaux said, “that we have time to have breakfast together this weekend. That’s the plan.

“We’re both really driven, very passionate about the game of softball.”

And about each other.

“Some day,” Kate Malveaux said, “we hope to coach together.”

Now that would be quite a marriage on the field.

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Source: (Peoria) Journal Star, https://bit.ly/1zy23cs

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Information from: Journal Star, https://pjstar.com


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