ENID — Coleman’s philosophy was not having to depend on athleticism — build a foundation on hard work to get the maximum of the athlete. When the good athletes do come along, you have a better chance then “to be a step above anyone else.’’
“When we got to that point, that’s when we really started to be successful,’’ Coleman said. “My last year there, we had an All-Stater in every sport.’’
One year Watonga had four cross country runners receive Division I scholarships.
“That’s pretty unusual for a school that size,’’ he said.
His personality was laid back, seeing his job as being a teacher whose job “is to train them and teach them the right strategies, so they can be competitive and be the best they can be.’’
He was first and foremost upfront.
His message was to be the “best you can be,’’ whether it’s in athletics or academics or music, etc.
“I think that’s been a big part of my success,’’ he said. “The kids knew they could come to me and I would be straight with them ... that I wouldn’t sugar coat anything. If they did a good job, they would be praised for it. If they didn’t, they would know why and we would get it straightened out.’’
He helped the more-intense Frank Piccirillo win two state football championships. The two personalities blended in well together.
“You have all kinds of personalities on a football team and the same is true on the coaching staff,’’ Coleman said. “Everyone doesn’t have to be the same. We had a combination of good athletes who worked hard and that allowed us to have good success.’’
Coleman, in football, was content to be an assistant.
“I didn’t like all the extra things the head coach has to do,’’ he said. “I enjoyed the coaching and being with the he kids and teaching the kids.’’