Most people do not enjoy their job as much as Head Tennis Coach Michael Coleman. For Coleman, coaching the NSU women is more than just a job.
Alex Johansson, sophomore finance major said, “He’s really dedicated to the program. He’s out there every day at the practices and he does what he can to help us improve. He doesn’t say that this is a job; it is a passion for him.”
Coleman is a major factor as to why NSU even has a tennis program. He came to the university in July 2003 in order to restart a program that had disappeared years before. His program was immediately successful, going 14-12 overall and earning a spot in the program’s first ever NCAA Division II National Championship Tournament.
Ever since then, Coleman has led the team to many national rankings and six NCAA Regional tournaments. He has also coached three All-Americans — Alexa Korotkevich, Ulia Talalenko and Alex Johansson. They have garnered All-American honors three times, two times and once, respectively.
Johansson also said, “He doesn’t take the fun out of tennis. He makes sure that you still enjoy it and you don’t burn out. With him, you want to come to practice and you want to work really hard.”
Not only has Coleman led players to many noteworthy athletic accomplishments, but he has also helped motivate his students to achieve academic success. Through his time at NSU, Coleman has helped 11 different athletes earn Scholar All-American awards.
Austin Lavallii, senior sport and recreation management major, said, “He’s just a great person. He genuinely cares and he wants us to succeed — not only on the court, but in our classes.”
Before coming to NSU, Coleman was the head coach for two years at George Mason University, a Division I school in Fairfax County, Va. Prior to that, he was the head coach for both the men’s and women’s tennis teams at Western Maryland College, which is now known as McDaniel College.
Coleman’s coaching career did not start at the collegiate level. His first major coaching job was at the McDonogh School near Baltimore, Md., where he taught middle school kids. However, he did not always plan on becoming a coach. He graduated from The University of Maryland School of Medicine with a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy.
After graduating, he owned and operated a very successful physical therapy clinic for 27 years. During that time, he became an expert in oncology studies and helped cancer patients become rehabilitated.
During his therapy career, Coleman specialized in athletic rehabilitations, working with athletes such as legendary quarterback Johnny Unitas. Unfortunately, he had to give up his physical therapy practice after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. After the diagnosis, the only thing that Coleman wanted to do was to coach.
Lavallii and Johansson summed it up the best, saying that Coleman is quirky, dedicated and good-hearted.