By Reba Phelps
The late spring time usually means several things. The weather is warming up, the flowers are blooming, school is winding down and last but not least it’s spring baseball and softball. This is when our community depends on the parents who have been deemed organized, talented and patient enough to coach our precious descendants. While visiting the baseball fields it has become a habit of mine to watch kids at multiple fields while our game is in progress. You cannot help but notice when there is intense excitement happening right behind you.
On this particular day I noticed audible hoopla behind me and turned around to further investigate. The first thing I observed on the field was my neighbor, Coach Micah Coleman, wiping dirt from a crying tee-baller’s eyes as he rounded third base. This small act completely touched my soul. Knowing Coach Coleman and his intense love for his own children and love for his basketball team it should not have surprised me at all.
A few days later I ran into Micah and relived that precious moment and even complimented him on the act of humanity. He smiled and quickly corrected me by saying, “Oh no, I needed that dirt out of his eyes so he could see and be able to make it to home base and score that run!”
Even though this statement totally made every parent in earshot laugh there was no surprise in the competitive nature of his response.
Coach Micah Coleman has a proven record of winning championships. His record speaks for itself having multiple state championships under his belt. But, his roots run deeper than his recent successes.
As a child, on any given day he could be found at a local field watching one of his 34 cousins play ball…if he wasn’t playing himself. Micah is no stranger to a game that includes a ball and a scoreboard. He knew at a very early age that he wanted to coach. He had many role models as a child who were teachers, principals and coaches. Choosing a career was an easy task for him. His dream job even included coaching college basketball.
Well, that was until he assumed the Head Coach position at Natchitoches Central High School.
Coach Coleman always felt a calling to coach but never felt that true peace that he’s had since he started coaching at NCHS. This is where he really started to cultivate his strong conviction to teach young men how to be leaders and not just winners. Sometimes he and his coaching staff are the only consistent masculine figures in some of the students lives and they do not take this job lightly. These students are his family.
When I asked Micah how he incorporates his own family with his coaching career he told me, “I was so fortunate to marry a woman who loves what I do and welcomes my whole team just as her own. My kids don’t know any different and think it’s completely normal to live at the gym and always have extra kids around.”
Through years of experience, trial and error and a love for his team he has found the right balance and compassion to meet students right where they are and build on what they have. Some might say he has been successful at turning out college basketball players but he is more humbled by the fact that he is turning out men who have the same conviction to be leaders and true men of God.
Billy Graham once said, “A coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime”.
This rings true as the family like atmosphere has bred success for the NCHS Basketball program and has earned them recognition statewide. Coach Coleman runs a tight ship and each spot on the team is earned with handwork and consistency. The basketball season will soon be upon us and I hope you can find your way to the Indian Tee Pee to watch Coach Coleman and his whole team. He will be the excited one in a jacket and tie pacing on the sidelines.
“If all that my young men have learned from me is how to dribble a ball and win a game then I have failed at my job,” says Coleman.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.