Looking back over the years, there are so many people who have played important roles in one’s life.
From your parents to aunts and uncles to teachers to pastors and, of course, coaches.
Even at 61 years of age, I still think about their influences each day.
I got a text last week from a friend in Dallas, someone I’ve known since Caldwell Play School. Bud’s text said “Coach Coleman passed away.”
As you get older, important people in your life naturally die, but it is still tough to take no matter their age.
Coach Bill Coleman, a longtime Tyler educator, phenomenal fisherman and a truly great man, passed away at age 94 on Jan. 9. Along with Coach Jimmy Armstrong and Coach Stan Smith, Coach Coleman had such an impact on my life as well as countless others in Tyler and East Texas.
I had known Coach Coleman and his lovely wife, Ann, since I was a tot.
He was later my coach at Boulter Junior High School and Mrs. Coleman was my counselor at John Tyler High School.
Coach Coleman, who began coaching at Hogg Junior High in 1955 and also coached at Dixie Junior High, would quote many people and also add in his humor and folksy commentary. His advice was golden.
One of Coach Coleman’s quotes that I remember most could be used in any aspect of life.
He loved to quote Mark Twain, “If we were supposed to talk more than we listen we would have two mouths and one ear.”
I remember him saying that in seventh grade and it still resonates.
Coach Coleman coached basketball and every sport, getting the most out of his players.
He hated to lose, but when it did happen a few times, he was as gracious in defeat as victory.
He once told me he loved to compete. “I’m very competitive and if you keep score, I’ll try to beat you. If we’re playing volleyball, fishing or any other sport, I come to play and win.”
That competitive spirit helped him win numerous fishing tournaments.
“I have been fishing my whole life,” he told me. “I grew up in Josephine (small town in Collin County) on a farm that had a 20-acre lake. When I wasn’t working in the fields picking cotton or gathering corn, I was either fishing, swimming or hunting.”
His influence is still felt; Three Lakes Middle School’s gym was named in honor of Bill and Ann Coleman for their service to the Tyler ISD.
Also, the Tyler Area Basketball Officials award the Bill Coleman/Gary Thedford Scholarship each year to a basketball player. Coach Coleman was also a longtime official as well as the late Gary Thedford.
A memorial service will be held at a later date for Coach Coleman under the direction of Stewart Family Funeral Home.
Coach Coleman was born March 21, 1926, in Josephine.
He was loved and cherished by many people including: his parents, Herndon Hubbard Coleman and Maxie Mae Vicars; his wife Evelyn Ann Albright Coleman; his grandfather Bill; his grandchildren, Whitney, Tayler, Clay Coleman, Kasey, Kurt and Bailey; his great grandchildren, Sam, Griffin, Myles Elizabeth, Spencer, Sidney Mae and Ryder; and also, children Vicki, Hub and Mandi.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, 412 W. Ferguson St., Tyler, Texas 75702.
Goodbye Coach Coleman, a true sportsman and gentlemen who impacted so many lives.