Industrial head softball coach Ted “Buddy” Malek died Sunday due to complications with COVID-19. Malek was 74.

According to Facebook posts from his family, Malek was hospitalized on Dec. 1 with a bout of pneumonia as a result of COVID-19, before being placed on a ventilator on Dec. 5.

Malek coached the Lady Cobras softball team for six seasons, making the playoffs every year except last season when COVID-19 suspended all UIL athletics.

Malek led the Lady Cobras to the regional quarterfinals in 2018, falling to Hallettsville.

Malek graduated from Industrial and began coaching at 19 and spent the next 55 years coaching.

His coaching stints included stops at Edna, Banquete — where he served on the school board — and was athletic director at the now shut in Corpus Christi Academy before joining Industrial’s staff in 2014.

“They don’t make a better man, he’s as good as they come,” said Industrial athletic director and head football coach Jamie Dixon. “He brightened up your day. The things I’m going to miss is the time spent on the weekends in the coaching room. That’s where you bond as a group.”

In addition to coaching softball, Malek coached the defensive line on the football team, helping the Cobras to back-to-back district titles in 2019 and 2020.

When Malek passed, it was felt throughout the entire Industrial athletic department.

“We’re grieving a lot,” Dixon said. “I’ve got a couple guys on staff who got coached by him and now they worked for him. It’s tough.”

Flatonia, Refugio and Dripping Springs were among numerous softball programs that took to Twitter to express their condolences.

“What a great man & coach,” said Shawn Burns, Flatonia athletic director and head softball coach. “So sad to not see him anymore on the diamond. His family is in our prayers!”

Joshua Garcia, a Banquete ISD Board Trustee and former player under Malek, posted a message on his Facebook page about Malek’s passing.

“I always knew Coach Malek to be a positive light for students and community of Banquete growing up,” Garcia said. “I know Bulldog Nation is hurting with the loss of Coach Malek, but I will continue to admire the positive impact he placed on athletes young and old and the entire community. Rest easy, Coach!”

Malek is survived by his daughter Jennifer, his sons Bowen and Tyson and his four grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his wife Barbara.

A public memorial is being held 6 p.m. Thursday at Cobra Field in Vanderbilt.

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