Former Southern Miss, Ole Miss coach dies

Thamas Coleman, 65, who spent more than 20 years in college athletics at Southern Mississippi and Ole Miss, died Monday after a long bout with cancer.

Coleman retired from USM in 1997, where he served from 1988 to 97 as an administrative assistant in the athletic department.

Coleman was defensive coordinator for the Golden Eagles from 1982-86 and linebackers coach from 1978-81 at the Hattiesburg school.

Prior to coaching at USM, Coleman coached on the defensive staff at Ole Miss from 1973-78. He came to Ole Miss after a standout high school coaching career in Georgia.

"He was loved by the coaches and his players," said Kem Coleman of Amory, Coleman's nephew. "He made the players believe in themselves. You loved the guy and wanted to win for him."

Coleman played linebacker at Ole Miss (1974-77) for his uncle.

"He's the reason I came to Ole Miss," Kem Coleman said. "I played high school in Atlanta and was planning to go to Georgia Tech."

Coleman was a native of Lynette, Ala., and played football and basketball at Auburn.

Coleman is survived by his wife, Mary Alice, and one son, Randy, a former baseball standout at Ole Miss.

- from staff reports

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