Malik Hall during one of his motivational speeches. Submitted photo

In 2018, Malik Hall, 42, of Auburn, became the 20th head coach of the Bates College Bobcats football team in the program’s 125-year history. Since his departure in 2021, Hall has used his leadership skills off the field, founding Teach 2 Move, a program for student athletes at Bates and throughout Lewiston to keep in contact during the pandemic. It’s also where Hall currently gives motivational speeches and focuses on positive development for youths both athletically and academically.

How did you come to your profession? Coaching football for 20-plus years was the result of coach Frank Forcucci, the former Becker College head football coach, and Sean Spencer, the co-defensive coordinator of the Florida Gators, encouraging me to coach after my senior year at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, which I was totally against. Long hours, always on the road away from your family, and, lastly, getting fired. I wanted nothing to do with coaching college football. Needless to say, God had other plans.

Coach Forcucci called me and asked if I wanted to coach the defensive line at Central Connecticut State University. In 2004 I coached my first college football game and that opportunity has taken me to Fordham University, Hofstra University, Wagner College, University of Massachusetts, University of Pennsylvania and last to become the first Black head football coach at Bates College in 2016-2019.

What brought you to Bates? Bates College and the Parker Executive Search Firm reached out to me for their newly open head football coach position. Coming from the University of Pennsylvania, I wanted nothing more than to be a head coach of an Ivy League-type program. Bates College seemed to fit the profile, but in fear of knowing little to nothing about Maine, my wife and I came up for an interview, and the rest is history as they say!

What are some of the things you do around the community? Recently you’ve taken to Facebook to promote your fundraising efforts. Teach 2 Move was created to give our students and athletes a safe space to connect during the pandemic. So we created Zoom Pals, with the local student-athletes at Bates College partnering and mentoring Lewiston student-athletes through group discussions and workshops.

During the Zoom Pals, I recognized that all students needed what (the “Move” in) Teach 2 Move stands for: Motivate, Overcome, Visualize and Empower. As our program came to an end, I wanted to culminate our gatherings with a virtual concert. Therefore, I reached out to former players of mine who are in the music industry (XL The Scholar and Richard Roosevelt). I asked if they could do a virtual concert for me. That of course led to us trying to give the entire district a virtual concert. Which led me to reach out to local artists Dukenmy and ANGELIKAH for this year’s concert. Today, Teach 2 Move is still focused on the social and emotional development of students and athletes. Our second annual Back 2 School Concert on Aug. 25 is meant to create that same safe space to reenergize and redeliver what it means to go “Back 2 School” for our youth.


What made you want to become a motivational speaker? What are some of the things you try to instill in the athletes you coach?

Some of my former players and other coaches shared with me over the years how much my words helped them. The fact is, those same players and coaches helped me more than I could ever explain. As a coach, your job is to teach athletes how to move up and down the field for team success. I’ve made a decent career teaching the kinetic movement of football. However, I never wanted the best part of me to be about X’s and O’s or the schematics. I wanted players to leave football knowing they’re a better person, son, brother, teammate, and one day husband and father. I never wanted to speak to any young men and them not know I believe in them, and their dream. If you want to go to the NFL, I don’t want to be the one to tell you you can’t or the percentage isn’t in your favor.

I want to show you everything I know to help you get there. Whatever I don’t know, I’ll find someone who does . . . not for me, but for them. There is always someone telling players what they can’t do. I wanted to reframe that for athletes so they could find their individual “JUICE” or “SAUZE” to keep them coming back for their dream and to block out the naysayers. Lastly, I wanted to inspire and empower my players to perform in ways I couldn’t coach. For that, I had to truly know what was important to them, and how they saw themselves. I want players to be proud in their effort and attitude regardless of the outcome by committing to each other their best effort and attitude. That’s all we can ask from people. People make mistakes, and get tired, but your best effort and attitude has nothing to do with talent or skill.

Do you think there’s a redeeming quality to working with people? Community and collaboration is vital to our human and social emotional development. I think more than ever we need community and collaboration. It helps us continue a conversation of difference and understanding. Isolation is the enemy to community. Much like good is the enemy of great. Isolation can feel good at times, and one could argue it’s necessary. However, isolation can be damaging to some — our mind, spirit and ability to trust different people. It takes community to raise a child. Teach 2 Move hopes to bring community and collaboration to Lewiston-Auburn. We are better together in our differences than we are a part.

Are you married and/or have children? I have three children: Malik Jr., 12, Kayah, 10, Asah, 6. I’ve been married for 13 years to Ayesha Hall, the diversity and equity coordinator for Lewiston public schools.

What are some of the changes that you’d like to see in the community? I hope to see Lewiston and Auburn close the bridge and have a community Back 2 School Concert with Top 10 chart artists and a New Balance truck full of shoes, and a L.L. Bean truck full of book bags. Walmart (would be) barbecuing and Staples filling the bags with supplies, with Poland Spring water stations all along the bridge. That’s what I hope to see one day in the L-A area!

Who are others that have been making an impact in the community that you’ve seen? My wife, Ayesha Hall, is equally my partner as well as my think tank. Maine is often looked at as a state that lacks diversity. I believe equity and diversity work is important for all of the world, but my wife works in Maine and we live in Maine and that is important to our children, school district and state. Ayesha has inspired me to continue working on social emotional leadership for students, athletes, and coaches.

Lewiston Public Schools Athletic Director Jason Fuller, Abdikhadar Shire of AK Health and Social Services, and Joe Philippon of the Lewiston Police Department . . . are monumental in helping me organize this event! They didn’t care about who got the credit, who spoke at city council, and more importantly, they did everything they could do to make this event possible.

This speaks to the power of people and community. No one person can do everything, but everyone can find one person to help! Abdikhadar, Joe, and Jason helped me contact the right people and assisted me in any way needed for Teach 2 Move — Back 2 School to be a successful event.

We are currently looking for 200 pairs of shoes and 200 book bags to donate to kids in need. If you want to mail any contributions, address them to AK Social Services, 11 Westminster St., Lewiston, Maine 04240 or Teach 2 Move, 12 Foss Road, Lewiston, Maine 04240.

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