That changed in January, when Panagos took an equivalent job at Minnesota and Collins quickly moved to hire Coleman.
“I wasn’t keeping up with the news (about Panagos’ departure),” Coleman said. “I just thought, ‘Hey, he decided to bring me on to the staff.’ That’s pretty much it.”
In Coleman’s third pass through Tech, he is learning yet again.
“I’m still young as a coach,” he said. “I make sure I keep myself humble and recognize that we’re all growing.”
Coleman has been handed a young group that includes redshirt freshmen Jordan Domineck and Justice Dingle. Some days, he said, he pulls out his hair. Some days, he lights up when he sees them execute a maneuver or technique that they’ve worked on.
“I really don’t have enough time in the day for all the drills I would like to do because there’s so much development that’s necessary, needed for them,” Coleman said. “But over time, they’ll get there.”
Domineck had to look up Coleman and his highlights to know who he was getting as his position coach, but said that his NFL experience (14 seasons, 207 games, 1 Pro Bowl) gives more resonance to his coaching.
“He knows exactly what he’s doing, he knows exactly what he’s talking about,” Domineck said.
“It’s been an amazing experience, getting us right, teaching us everything he knows,” Dingle said. “He’s a legend.”
Jaquan Henderson called him a great guy, but also someone who coaches his group hard.
“You mess up, he’s going to get after you,” Henderson said.
Domineck confirmed, attesting to Coleman’s intensity.
“He’ll treat you like his own son, but he will cuss you out if you mess up,” he said. “He wants to make sure that you succeed on the football field, in life, anywhere and everywhere.”
Domineck said that Coleman has sought to get to know him away from football and called him a father figure. That aspect seems to particularly delight Coleman, who said that one of the biggest reasons he came to Tech was the opportunity to mentor. His decision to come to Tech is confirmed, he said, every day that he comes into the football offices.
“To see those young men, it’s really bigger than what’s going on on the field,” he said. “Having an opportunity to be in their lives, share my experiences, listen to theirs, be a sounding board. And coming out on the football field, it’s just fun.”