Malden High School second-year football Head Coach Witche Valence Exilhomme started the 2022 season off with a bang as the Golden Tornadoes steamrolled Whittier Tech with a convincing 48-34 victory (on the road no less)! Senior running back Makhial “Mak” Coulanges-Blaise took his rightful place alongside other gridiron folk heroes in GT history like Tommy Cunha, Dom Fermano, Danny Rao, John “Cuddles” Willcox, Donnie Roach, John Stanasek, John Salmon, Mike Byrnes, Mark Burns and Dave Moulton by scoring five touchdowns and running for 327 yards for the night. Amazing performance. Mak is a captain alongside Andy Louis, Zach Pan, Kyle Paulding and James Hyppolite. In my humble opinion, in the future (and with all due respect to the other co-captains) the name to pay attention to is young James Hyppolite – loads of potential on the field and (more importantly) off. Witche and his players have put in a lot of hard work over the summer, and it seems to have paid off. Bigly! Kell, Bill Tighe, Hawk Finn, Lou Racca, Frek, Skip Zimmerman and Dickie Cullen would be/are very proud of Witche and the progress he has made with the football program in such a short period of time. WVE is a great guy: caring, giving, with a quick smile, a natural-born leader. It doesn’t hurt that he has a very engaging personality along with them Hollywood good looks. If you cannot tell, I really like this kid!
Time for Malden to get to know Witche a little more intimately. Take it away, Coach Exilhomme:
- My full name is… Witche Valence Exilhomme.
- I am currently… 29 years old.
- I am saving up for… my second multifamily property.
- My home is (now) in… Methuen.
- I love people who… make sacrifices for others.
- Something I say a lot is… Jesus Christ!
- I consider myself to be… blessed beyond measures.
- I need to have… something to do at all times.
- My favorite movie of all time is… ‘Kingdom of Heaven’
- My all-time role model is… Ray Lewis.
- I respect people who… treat people well.
- The best thing anyone has ever said to me is… you’re making a difference.
- I am happy when… I’m part of the solution to someone’s problem.
- I find Bernie Mac funny/hilarious.
- I am named after no one in particular.
- I have zero kids of mine own but 100 plus that I try to look after.
- The farthest I’ve ever been from home is… Haiti & London.
- My special talents are… reading people well.
- I have 1 pet (a dog).
- I played sports as a youngster at Ferryway Green and Bell Rock Memorial Park.
- What one thing would people be surprised to learn about you? I play the drums.
- Where would you most like to buy a one-way ticket to? A Super Bowl victory!
- What person, alive or dead, would you like to eat dinner with? Thomas Jakes Sr.
- What’s one song to play to put yourself in a good mood. ‘Holes’ by Passenger.
- What is the one piece of advice that most changed your life? “Work hard to make life easy” advice given to me by the late Mac Singleton.
- What one piece of advice would you give your younger self? Keep going, it’s all worth it in the future.
- What’s the one thing that keeps you motivated? My family.
- What’s the one thing you want to be remembered for? Helping the less fortunate.
- Growing up in Malden – most admired or most inspirational mentor? Mac Singleton, Joe Levine, Joe Pappagallo and Gary Rogers.
- Malden has long been known for its outstanding restaurants. Growing up what were your favorite places to grab a slice of pizza or sub? Pisa Pizza and the Big A.
As Peter Falk’s iconic TV character “Columbo” would say, “Just one more thing, sir” – speaking of thoughtful, caring young people who contribute so much to the youths of Malden without ever looking to the spotlight, meet my niece, Dorothy Levine. Many across the city already know her for her kindness and generosity (she gets that from her parents Joe and Helen), but for those who don’t, let’s get the skinny from her on one of her favorite subjects, the Exilhommes: “My dad has given me a few little ‘brothers’ in the last 20 years, but something was different when he would talk about Witche. My first real memory of Witches’ existence was an October day when he was playing a football game. His two 4th grade brothers came to watch him play and they just stood there in awe with big smiles on their faces watching their big brother play and I knew at that point he was a special person. Since then, Witche and his siblings have become the brothers and sisters I never knew I needed. My favorite memories include our family dinners and holidays together. I have watched Witche go through a lot in life, but always comes out with a smile and that contagious laugh. You will not come across many people in life with a heart like Witche. Malden is a better city because the Exilhommes moved here. Witche is changing lives one kid at time. It has been an amazing ride watching him accomplish so much in his almost 30 years. Sky’s the limit! My parents and I will always be there to answer his early morning phone calls and be his biggest fans.”
Postscript 1: Actually, my whole family are big fans of Witche Exilhomme. None more so than my sister Barbara (Scibelli), who, as assistant to Principal (Dana) Brown at MHS, watched Witche grow from gangly preteen to the fine young adult he has become today. In high school WVE was extremely popular amongst his peers, staff, coaches and administrators. All loved and admired Witche. He was also a popular captain on both the football and hoop teams as well as president of the Captains Council. A natural athlete, he excelled at anything and everything he attempted. Barbara has a great Witche story. Take it away, Mrs. Scibelli: “It was Witche’s senior year at Malden High. It was prom time and there were many who wanted to be his date. Witche had a special girl in mind. He asked his friend Kamisha. Kamisha, due to a degenerative muscle disease, had used a wheelchair her whole life. Kamisha’s positive ‘never give up’ attitude and fierce perseverance made a life changing impression on Witche. Witche and Kamisha became friends in Unified Sports at Malden High, a program he helped to start that brings together student athletes with and without disabilities to compete together regardless of different abilities. Inclusion through athletics. Witche heard that Kamisha ‘dreamed’ of dancing at her prom. There was not a dry eye in the house when, during a slow song, Witche asked her to dance and on the dance floor he lifted Kamisha out of her chair, and they danced together.” Fabulous story, Barbara, about a fabulous young man!
Postscript 2: One more from the heart quote from Barbara: “Witchie is the person that makes you a better person for knowing him.”
Postscript 3: It’s never too early to start thinking Malden vs Medford on Thanksgiving Day! It’s an ancient rivalry, as we all know, that goes back to 1889 – the year famous Malden author Erle Stanley Gardner was born. Gardner is best known for creating the Perry Mason series. Malden forever immortalized in this series when Perry Mason’s fictional secretary, Della Street, was named after Dell Street in Malden. But I digress. If you grew up in Malden, then you have probably attended a Thanksgiving Day game at Macdonald Stadium. You probably weren’t part of a crowd as large as the 1929 crowd that drew 18,500 fans, but those were unique times for sure. Here is a quote from Malden High School’s first African American football head coach (1905 & 1906) – trailblazing Harvard Law School alumni Matthew Washington Bullock – which pretty much sums up how a lot of Maldonians feel about the spirit of the day: “The season does not begin until Thanksgiving Day, and should we lose that game my work for the season will be a rank failure.” Bullock felt very strongly about this one particular game, and he didn’t even grow up in Malden! This from a man who fled the oppressive South in 1889 in the company of his seven siblings and parents (both formerly enslaved) with $10 between them. It’s a long and storied tradition. See you at Fenway!