PEORIA — Willie Coleman left the sideline Thursday, resigning as head coach of the Manual Boys basketball team.
“He’s got family, he’s got reasons, and I won’t speak for him,” Manual sporting director Tim Kenny said. “He’s done a lot for the program as a player and a coach. We’re going to open it up and we have good young coaches here who will be fine. It will take a few weeks to go through the process.”
A call and text to Coleman was not returned Thursday night.
Off-side :Manual’s sectional loss in OT ended a season. He can’t break this bond
Manual assistant coaches Marvin Jordan and Paul Burse are the current college assistant coaches who could take over the program.
Coleman was a figurehead, keenly aware of his role and that of manual basketball in the community and in the lives of his players and their families.
“Handball basketball, Southside basketball, that’s all some people have,” Coleman said in a 2021 Journal Star article. “It’s their life. You still have families older, white and black, who see me and recognize me and still see me living in the community and they’ve been watching manual basketball for 50 to 60 years. It’s something special.”
More coverage:Local leadership for manual basketball helps youth navigate the environment
Coleman played at Manual from 1992 to 1995, the first three of those seasons under legendary coach Dick Van Scyoc. He was the starting guard for the Manual State Champions in 1994.
In 1995, he played for Wayne McClain and Manual’s state championship repeat team.
Coleman followed Derrick Booth as manual head coach, taking over in 2017-18 and leading the Rams to a fourth-place finish in the state in 2018-19.
Coleman was 60-58 in his five seasons, including back-to-back seasons of 17-11 and 19-13, the latter being the state run.
Burse graduated from Manual in 2002 and performed there under McClain. Jordan graduated from Manual in 2010 and played there under Booth.
After:The university is giving more and more offers to the Peoria High women’s basketball star
Dave Eminian is the Journal Star’s sports columnist and covers men’s basketball for Bradley, the Rivermen and the Chiefs. He writes the sports column Cleve In The Eve for pjstar.com. Contact him at 686-3206 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve.