Andre Maloney used to write the letters “MiB” on the socks he wore when he played football. It was a symbol of his drive for success.
Make it big.
The catchphrase spread across the Shawnee Mission West community. It lived on as a tribute to a fallen teammate, friend and son.
Maloney died Oct. 4, a day after he suffered a stroke and collapsed on the field during a football game at SM South District Stadium. His death forever changed a community.
“I know, for me, it’s shown me the strength of our students,” SM West athletic director Don Perkins said. “I think they understand how important it is to come together. That’s what they did throughout that and this whole year. They truly amazed me.”
On the final play of his life, Maloney scored a 63-yard-touchdown. He was untouched on the play, and he celebrated by pointing to the heavens. But when he returned to the sideline, he became disoriented and collapsed.
Doctors discovered a blood clot in his brain, but a three-hour surgery proved unsuccessful. His family chose to stop further treatment after they were informed he was unlikely to emerge from a vegetative state.
Maloney was 17. He had committed to play football at Kansas.
More than 1,000 people attended a memorial at SM West three days after Maloney died. They spoke of his talent, his faith, and his loyalty to friends and family.
“Congratulations on making it big,” longtime friend and teammate Justin Fetzer said at the memorial. “Much love from all of us down here.”