1988 Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame Inductee
Wife: Geraldine Johnson
When people talk about football in Flint, it always includes the name Don Coleman. Only when you consider the fact that Don was trumpet player in Flint Central’s marching band until his senior year will you realize how great he really was. He didn’t have two years to develop his blocking and tackling skills. His mother did not want Don to play football, yet he excelled as a lineman.
In one year at Central High School he was selected unanimous All-City, All-Saginaw Valley at guard position; and All-State where he led all linemen in voting. After graduation from Central he enrolled at Michigan State University – and the rest is football history unmatched in Flint and MSU.
Don weighed only 178 pounds at MSU, playing tackle on offense and defense. In his four years at MSU he won many honors. He was called one of the two finest linemen in Big Ten history. Pound for pound, smart, quick and a fearless tackler, there was no one better at tackle. His No. 78 jersey was the first ever retired at MSU. He was considered by many to be the greatest player in MSU history.
Don is the first Flint athlete ever named to the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame in 1975. His recognition is on display at the Hall of Fame located at Kings Island in Cincinnati, Ohio. It includes the following: Unanimous All-American Tackle, MSU, 1950-51; Most Valuable Player, MSU, 1951; Outstanding Lineman East and West Game, 1951; Hawaiian Hula Bowl, 1952; College All-Star Game, 1952; Outstanding Lineman Hula Bowl Silver Anniversary, 1971; National Collegiate Athletic Association Silver Anniversary Award, 1976; Greater Flint Hall of Fame, 1980.
Don was selected on the Notre Dame All-Opponents team three consecutive years – a first in Notre Dame history.
He received the Harvey Barcus Award at the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame in Detroit in 1972.
Don received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Michigan State University. Dr. Coleman has received numerous awards and belongs to many professional organizations.