Mallatt talks retirement after 50 years as football coach

Johnny Mallatt is retiring after 50 years on the sideline.

RIVERTON, Kan. – Riverton head football coach Johnny Mallatt has announced his retirement after 50 years as a football coach.

43 of his 50 years coaching football came at the prep level. 41 of those 43 years were between Galena, Baxter Springs and Riverton High Schools in southeast Kansas.

“I’m an old Galena boy and grew up in the CNC league. I wanted to have my kids know their grandparents growing up, and they all live back here. I couldn’t think of a better spot than the Galena, Baxter and Riverton area,” Mallatt says of what kept him in southeast Kansas, “People ask me all the time if I’m going to miss football. I tell them I’m going to miss the kids more than I will the game of football.”

Mallatt retires at Riverton after going 8-3 overall in 2021 – the most wins for a Riverton team in 13 years. The Rams won a district championship and a regional championship before falling in the state quarterfinals.

“I told the kids some coaches when they leave they’ll look over their shoulder and they don’t see much coming. Sometimes they move on to greener pastures. That’s not my case,” Mallatt says of his final meeting with the team, “We’ve got a lot of good, young kids coming up. That makes it harder for me because I’d like to be a part of their success. They’re going to be resilient and hopefully we’ve got some tradition going. I told Chad Harper, our principal, six years ago that when we get the program going in the right direction that’s when I’m going to be stepping down. I think they were ready for it.”

Below is our full conversation with Mallatt on his retirement. We talked about his favorite memories, coaching his son and grandson, what he’s most proud of in his 50 years as a coach and more.