A.J. Malis is a Tucson native who graduated from Sahuaro High School. After attending Arizona State University as a part of the Leadership Scholarship Program, he transferred to the University of Arizona where he earned his BA in Education (major in chemistry and minor in math/physics). A.J. taught chemistry, AP chemistry, and physics for 13 years before leaving the classroom to go into administration. A.J. obtained his Master's Degree with Distinction in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University and worked as an assistant principal in the Amphitheater School District for 4 years before entering his current position as the principal at Tanque Verde High School.
Although boy's volleyball was not an AIA sponsored sport when A.J. was in school, he began playing in area volleyball leagues in middle and high school. A.J.'s volleyball “coaching” career began at Sahuaro High School where he served as the team manager for the varsity program. While at ASU, A.J. coached a 4th-6th grade volleyball team in Scottsdale. Upon his return to Tucson, A.J. got involved with club volleyball (Southern Arizona Juniors) and local junior high and high school programs. In 1991, A.J. co-founded Club Cactus Juniors, where he coached for 5 seasons. In the fall of 1995, A.J. served as the volunteer assistant at the University of Arizona. That same year in October, A.J. and his wife Michelle founded Zona Volleyball Club. In the fall of 1998, A.J. took over the program at Salpointe Catholic and was named Southern Arizona 5A Coach of the Year. In spring of 2000, A.J. was named an assistant coach at the University of Arizona. During his three seasons with the Wildcats, A.J. was a part of the staff for teams that won the PAC-10 Championship in 2000, went to the Final Four in 2001, and had the three best volleyball seasons in school history. During the 2006 and 2007 club seasons, A.J.'s U18 teams qualified for Junior Nationals. This was the first time a team from Southern Arizona ever qualified since the bid system was enacted for USA Volleyball Nationals. A.J. was the varsity head coach at Catalina Foothills High School from 2007-2009 and Sabino High School in 2010.
A.J. has extensive experience with the USA Volleyball High Performance program. He coached the Arizona High Performance Girls National Select teams in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, he was a head coach for the national USA Volleyball High Performance Continental Select program. In 2011 and 2012, A.J. served as the High Performance Director for the Arizona Region. A.J. also works with the AZ Sizzle, the professional volleyball team in Arizona.
A.J. has been a CAP II certified coach and a certified IMPACT instructor through USA Volleyball since 2000.
A.J. and Michelle have three children; Zach, Ethan, and Ainsley.