Coleman made an impact as teacher, coach
WELLSBURG — Whether it was as a basketball coach or player, Mel Coleman made an impact
It’s an impact that will be felt for years to come, too.
Coleman died Wednesday afternoon from complications of a heart attack he suffered earlier in the week.
The 1961 Wheeling Central graduate, who spent most of his adult life teaching and coaching, had been the head basketball coach at Brooke the last two seasons and planned to return in 2020-21.
“The Brooke High School community was shocked Monday when we were notified by Coleman’s family that he was in Weirton Medical Center after suffering a major medical emergency and we were equally saddened by the news (Wednesday) evening that Coach Coleman had passed away,” said Sean Blumette, Brooke’s athletic director..
Prior to returning to the Bruins bench in 2018, Coleman had been out of coaching for upwards of 10 years.
“Coleman brought a unique, but fundamentally intense style to Brooke,” Blumette continued. “Though his tenure as a Bruin, Coleman continued with his high intensity style even after several years away from the bench.”
Coleman began his coaching career in 1969 as an assistant at Madonna. He spent five seasons there and, following a brief stop at Toronto, he landed his first head coaching job at Wintersville, replacing his mentor, Earl Haberfield.
He guided the Golden Warriors for 11 years, including an undefeated regular season in 1984. He won three OVAC titles in that span. He also guided the team to five sectional and three district crowns.
Following his time at Wintersville, Coleman entered the college coaching ranks at Norfolk State. He was the associate head coach and spent the 1998-99 campaign as the interim head coach and led the Spartans to a 15-12 record. As an assistant, he was part two conference championship teams and the 1995 squad advanced to the NCAA Division II Final Four.
He then returned to the high school ranks, landing the head coaching position in the Cleveland Suburb of Maple Heights. He was in charge there for three seasons before retiring.
Coleman worked as a substitute teacher in Brooke and Hancock counties and got the itch to coach again, leading him to apply for the Bruins job.
“Coleman was well respected in our school, community and throughout the Ohio Valley,” Blumette said. “He will be sadly missed by those that he coached, coached with and had the opportunity to work with over the years. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Coleman is survived by his wife, Nora, six children and nine grandchildren.