Former Florida State tight end Tom O’ Malley, who played for the Seminoles from 1985-88, passed away Saturday night.
O’Malley, 54, caught 43 passes for 479 yards and three touchdowns over four seasons. The Darien, Conn., native leaves behind two daughters, Kelly, 13, and Riley, 11.
He was living in Norwalk, Conn., at the time of his passing.
“Tough news to share. A good friend and teammate of mine, Tom O’Malley passed this afternoon! Prayers!!! Two beautiful girls, please keep them in your prayers,” former teammate Bill Ragans said on Facebook.
“With everything going on in this world right now, reality sets in this week when you lose two of your brothers,” posted former teammate Tony Yeomans on Facebook. “Marvin Ferrell and Tom O’Malley, we as your teammates were blessed to be around you and be a part of building a dynasty. We’ve lost too many of our teammates in the last few years. Tomorrow is never promised. Prayers for the families.”
“Tom was my roommate for five years at FSU,” said former teammate Joe Ionata. “We had so many incredibly fun times. After graduation we stayed close and in the mid 2000’s we were fortunate enough to work together for two different companies. I am so grateful that over the past year, we had many great conversations. The last one was so fun, rehashing some of the playing days memories. We were laughing our heads off. But, what I remember most about our last conversation was how proud he was of his two daughters. Tom will be missed greatly.”
“For me, Tom’s passing is an especially poignant temporal marker,” said former FSU punter Louis Berry. “We came to FSU in the same recruiting class; therefore, we took a lot of the same freshman and sophomore classes together until we declared our respective majors. This was a time in both of our lives when we were transitioning from boys to men, with the help of the coaching staff. I always admired Tom for his positive energy, and its broad expression amongst his teammates. At my age these untimely deaths seem to occur all too often. Although Tom’s earthly journey has ended, I’m certain his soul is embracing the next experience that God has in store for him.”
“I’m just bummed right now,” said former FSU tight end Pat Carter. “We came in together in the same class and had been in touch lately. He was just a great guy. At a loss right now.”
“When I reflect back to my playing days, of the times I treasure most, Tom O’Malley is always a huge part,” said former teammate Mark Salva. “I think back to the practice field, stadium, road trips, Burt Reynolds Hall, Miss Betty’s, bowl games, around town, nothing but great memories of Tom and shared experiences. This makes me sad. I’m sorry for his family and loved ones, especially his two daughters.”
“As a player, Tom was a throwback,” said former teammate Eric Luallen. “He was a good, hard-nosed tight end who could be depended on to both catch and block. As a teammate he was a guy who would lead by example with his work ethic. As a friend, he was a fun guy to be around away from the field. Just a great guy.”
“What I remember most and fondest about Tom was that he was really cool and down to earth, humble guy,” said former FSU tight end Dave Roberts. “He was my host on my official visit and let me crash on his couch after national signing day when I used to come down (to visit) all the time. We had a really fun and charismatic position group in those early years with Tom, Pat Carter, Gaylon White, Reggie Johnson and myself. I text with Brad Scott (who coached O’Malley and Roberts at FSU) and he had heard the bad news and was very saddened as we all are.”
According to multiple players, including former teammate Henry Ostaszewski, the former Darien High School star had been struggling with several health issues in recent years.
“Tom and I had hip replacement surgery at the same time,” said Ostasewski. “We talked a lot during that time. Whereas my surgery and rehab went well, Tom had a horrible experience. He got a really bad infection and they had to take the replacement out and put in a temporary stint. The whole ordeal lasted more than a year for Tom and I knew he was in a lot of pain. Then a couple of years later he was diagnosed with CTE.”
“Tom was a good dude,” said former teammate Scott Schilbrack. “He always helped out the younger guys and was happy to explain things. Always impressed me how he could move for his size and had soft hands.”