Memorial post ‘always in back’ of Coleman’s mind
Published 4:09 pm Wednesday, August 19, 2015
By I.C. Murrell
The News sports editor
Having played and coached in the Port Arthur Independent School District, Kenneth Coleman always had a dream of coaching at Memorial High School, even while enjoying some success on the staff at Galena Park North Shore.
“I really did have a very good situation here at North Shore,” he said Thursday, more than one season removed from helping the Mustangs win a state championship. “We had success over here. I learned a whole lot and had a good working environment. Everything I’ve done and the things I learned along the way, I always had getting the Port Arthur job in the back of my mind.”
At 55, Coleman now has his first full-time varsity head coaching opportunity — back in his hometown. The Port Arthur Independent School District board voted 7-0 Tuesday night to hire him as Memorial’s new boys basketball head coach, replacing Travis Williams.
“Coach Coleman has been a loyal assistant to the head coaches he’s worked for, Terrell Henderson and David Green,” PAISD athletic director Andre Boutte said. “He’s a student of the game and the committee was confident he could build the program from the ground up. He’s very familiar with the tradition of basketball in Port Arthur.”
Coleman played under James Gamble at Lincoln High and graduated from there in 1978. After spending 3½ years in the Army, he worked as a process operator for a number of refineries for 23 years before resigning to begin his coaching career at Memorial.
He was the ninth-grade boys’ coach and an assistant under Henderson at Memorial and was interim head coach during the 2011 offseason between Henderson’s departure and the arrival of his would-be successor, Travis Williams. Coleman was Williams’ top assistant for the following season before he accepted a position on Green’s staff at North Shore as a ninth-grade coach.
Coleman moved up to top assistant for the Mustangs’ 2013-14 championship season. He spent the past two years mentoring Kerwin Roach, a four-star swingman who will begin his collegiate career as part of Shaka Smart’s first team at Texas.
“God is good,” Coleman said. “It’s been a journey for me. Coming to North Shore and leaving Port Arthur has been a good experience. I think I bring some things from [North Shore].”
Boutte said Coleman was chosen from a pool of 23 applicants, including five finalists who interviewed. The hire was approved nearly a month to the day Williams announced his resignation from Memorial.
Coleman didn’t go into specifics of his coaching style, but he said many of the things needed to make the Titans successful are already in place. Memorial went 90-41 under Williams the past four years.
“The coaches who’ve been there have done an excellent job,” Coleman said. “I do have a passion for the community. I don’t know that I bring anything different other than, maybe my own philosophy of how to win the game.”
To be successful at Memorial, Coleman said, keeping potential student-athletes who live in the district will be key.
“Keeping our kids for one and providing them with the tools necessary to be successful not just in basketball, but in the classroom and for when they go to college or get a job,” he said. “If we do that, I think our kids recognize that you care about them. It knocks down so many walls.”
Coleman said his classroom duties have not yet been determined, but he will officially resign from North Shore on Thursday. Classes in the PAISD begin Monday.
He likens laying his own foundation for success to a line of dominoes.
“We’ve got to start putting that first domino in line,” he said. “We need to be in the gym right now.”