Bradford “Coach Brad” Coleman follows passion with Port Arthur athletics
Published 12:40 am Saturday, January 28, 2023
Port Arthur is well known for its sports, talented athletes and successful teams.
One of the people most intertwined with this community passion is Bradford Coleman. However, he is best known locally as “Coach Brad.”
The Southeast Texas youth coaching veteran recently received a letter welcoming him as the latest inductee into The Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association Hall of Fame/Hall of Honor.
A banquet is scheduled July 15 in Houston.
Coleman began coaching (volunteering with youth) in 1975, a year before he graduated from Lincoln High School.
Outside of a ten-year break to focus on raising his own children, Coleman has spent his free and working time coaching youth sports in Port Arthur and beyond.
The decades of experience has taken him to college and professional stadiums and allowed him to rub shoulders with Alabama coach Nick Saban, New Orleans Saints coach Dennis Allen and a host of other luminaries.
Yet, his focus remains on Port Arthur and young boys and girls who come into his orbit as director of the Port Arthur Junior Bees Organization.
“This is a way to help out kids with sports and academics,” he said. “For example, on my phone I have an app like the coaches do at high schools where I promote kids out to colleges. A good example is Corey Dauphine. I met the Tulane coaches in New Orleans at the Saints camp. When Corey decided he wanted to leave Texas Tech, I reached out to them and asked if they were interested in Corey Dauphine and gave them the information. When they reached back to me, I got Corey’s information. It went from there, and that is where he went, played and was a great running back.”
Coleman loves to talk about his former players who have gone on to pursue high school, college success or make the transition into coaching as adults.
Two of the many include Cam Martin, who played football at Auburn and now coaches running backs at the University of the Incarnate Word, and Alden Lewis, who is the head coach of the Memorial Titans basketball team.
“You found a way to help them grow,” Coleman says. “That is what sports are all about. It is about helping the kids grow.”
In fact, “Coach Brad,” said he recently received a shout out from a former player and Memorial graduate who is entering medical school. He said it meant as much as any sporting accomplishment his former players went onto.
And that passion is as strong today in 2023 as it was in the mid-70s.
“It means the exact same thing,” he said. “You can take a kid who doesn’t know hardly anything and teach him. I tell the kids, ‘It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.’ I look at your skill level and if you stay with me the next four years, I can see you starting at the high school. When you leave my organization, I want to see you in the seventh grade starting. You could also be second string, but you won’t be third string because I’m going to work with you as much as I can to make you a better player. My job is to teach you. It is not about winning little league games, it is about teaching kids.”
Coleman’s love of sports began when he was a child playing sandlot football.
Now he is enjoying how the Port Arthur Junior Bees impacts boys and Port Arthur Honey Bees impacts girls.
“We have grown,” he said. “We have cheerleaders who have won nine or 10 straight Pop Warner dance contests, been to Disney seven times. It is just something I enjoy.”
Coleman said 2023 marks his 18th year coaching semi-pro football and 20th year coaching basketball at the YMCA.
He has also put in a dozen years as a Little League baseball coach.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “The best honor you can do your coach is every time you see him, you call him coach. That is an honor.”