Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Don Coleman Hospitalized

Flint Central High School and Michigan State football legend Don Coleman is hospitalized in Lansing. My mom remembers him as the friendliest hall monitor and an all-around great guy when she attended Central with him in the forties. He's also the first player to have his number retired at MSU.

Here's Don's bio from the MSU Athletic Department:

...when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, Coleman was primarily a standout swimmer and a trumpeter at Flint Central High School.

His mother had lost two sons at young ages and didn't want Coleman to play prep football. Finally, she gave the OK, but his junior season ended because of conflicts with an after-school job as a busboy at the Durant Hotel.

When he went out for the team again as a senior, Coleman's adjustment was mercurial. He was an immediate state champion and an All-Michigan selection at tackle. And with help from legendary broadcaster Bob Reynolds, Coleman became a must-get recruit for then Michigan State College assistant Duffy Daugherty.

By May 1952, as he prepared for graduation from MSC, Coleman had become arguably the greatest player in school history - pound-for-pound the best lineman in the country. His memberships in the College Football and Michigan Sports Halls of Fame are just two of his honors.

Don's wife, Geraldine, is also in the hospital recovering from surgery, so they could both use some words of encouragement. Please send your get-well wishes to Don and Geraldine at the following address:

424 McPherson Avenue
Lansing, MI


  1. I was fortunate indeed to have watched this man in action when I was a youngster during his high school playing days,then at MSU too. If Don had never stepped on the gridiron, his accomplishments in life after graduation was even more grandiose. Read his bio on Wiki and you will be stunned at his achievements as Doctor Coleman. unclebuck

  2. Sorry...make that Google.

  3. Pat McFarlane YoungMarch 31, 2010 at 7:12 AM

    I remember Don at Central High School. Always a gentleman with a big smile. It made me very proud reading about his athletic career at Michigan State and could boast, "I went to school with him." He is a good man and I pray for his recovery.

  4. I fondly remember George Coleman, Sr., Don's father, from the Downtown Barber Shop owned by Jim Buchanan. George Sr. worked as a porter there as well as the Durant Hotel.

    George made the best of what many would have called a subservient position, and was also well known and well liked in the whole community.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.