DULUTH, Minn. — Four years ago, Minnesota-Duluth football Coach Jim Malosky saw a Duluth Central High School quarterback he liked.
Recruiting him was no big deal. He just went home and asked his son, Jim Jr., if he would like to play for the Bulldogs.
"It was a recruiting process," said the elder Malosky, adding that his son had a few bites from other schools. "I let him know we would like to have him here."
The younger Malosky accepted the offer. After all, he liked the city, he liked the program and he liked the coach.
"I guess it was a little worrisome coming here, because he's my dad and (I was worried) how the other players would react to that," the younger Malosky said.
"It's worked out fine as far as I'm concerned," the coach said. "We're very happy he came."
And he has reason to be. The Bulldogs have lost only three games that Malosky has started in the three years since becoming the team's first-team quarterback in his sophomore year, and he helped lead the school to first place in the Northern Intercollegiate Conference in 1985. They would have been first again in 1986, but they had to forfeit all their victories because they used an ineligible player.
Going into Saturday's game, the 1987 Bulldogs are 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the NIC. Against Moorhead State in the fourth week of the season, Malosky ran for 93 yards and passed for 204 more, both career highs.
"The nice thing about it is that he's been good enough," said Malosky Sr. "It really hasn't been that much of a factor as far as people saying: 'Is he playing him because of nepotism or what?'. He's played well for us. I like to think that I choose people on their merits, not because who they are or what they are."
The younger Malosky said his teammates haven't said much about being the coach's son, although they do razz him a bit.
"There haven't been any problems coming here and playing for my dad," he said. "I've been real happy with my decision. I look back at it now, I don't think I would have changed what I did."
Maybe he hasn't had any problems playing for his father, but he thought he might have problems living with his coach. So, before ever taking a snap at UMD, the younger Malosky and some buddies moved into a house close to campus.
"I just figured it would be a little bit easier on both of us," said Malosky Jr., adding that he still takes his laundry home and stops by for a home-cooked meal or two.
"I guess I can't blame him," his dad said. "He didn't want me on the practice field and at home chewing on him all the time."
Malosky Sr., in his 30th year as UMD's coach and the winningest active coach in NCAA Division II with a 184-82-10 record through Oct. 9, has a reputation for "chewing on" his players. But he doesn't think he shows any favoritism toward his son.
"I think he can openly yell at (me) ... because he yells at everybody," the younger Malosky said. "That makes it a little bit easier on him. If I screw up, he'll let me know. Sometimes I think he lets me know a little bit more often" than the other players.
"He might have it a little tougher than most," his dad said. "I don't think I treat him different. I might be a little bit harder on him because I keep reminding myself, 'Hey, after all, he really isn't your boy, he's your quarterback."'
But the father and son have had one problem: What to call each other on the field.
"He calls me coach on the field and whatever off the field, when I'm not around," the senior Malosky said, laughing.
"I had to kind of get used to calling him 'Coach' instead of Dad," said the younger Malosky, adding that his dad usually calls him by his number (10) or by his last name.