Former FAMU star inducted into Black College Football Hall of Fame

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Vaughn Wilson remembered his young age kicking soccer balls for Greg Coleman when the All-American punted at Florida A&M in the early 1970s.

In this case, the first impressions lasted a lifetime.

“He was my idol,” Wilson said Monday.

“He’s a great guy that I’ve admired all these years – and he’s never been disappointed.”

Coleman, 66, who became the first black bettor selected in an NFL draft, was among six inductees entered into the Black College Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in Atlanta.

Coleman, a Jacksonville native of Raines High School, kicked and kicked off for the Rattlers from 1972 to 1975.

Known for his athleticism and precise kicking, Coleman was recognized by all of America and was selected by Cincinnati in the 14th round of the 1976 NFL Draft.

Although he did not play for the Bengals, Coleman’s NFL career spanned 12 seasons with the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings before retiring after a season with Washington in 1988.

AP All-American punter Chris Faddoul receives the Greg Coleman award as the best special teams player from head coach Willie Simmons at the 2019 Fang Awards on Monday, April 22, 2019.

Coleman played 10 of his seasons in Minnesota and was selected by fans for the Vikings’ 40th anniversary squad.

Coleman, in an interview with Vikings.com in November 2020, said he had high expectations for himself in high school.

“You know in your high school directory when you put your name, your hobbies and your ambitions… I wrote years and years ago that I wanted to be a bettor in the National Football League,” said Coleman. “My teammates and classmates laughed and said, ‘Dude, you’re crazy. There are no black bettors in the NFL. “And I said, ‘It’s not my problem.’ “

Coleman averaged 40.6 years per punt with a career-best 42.8 GPA in 1985 to place fourth in the NFC. Only three of Coleman’s 820 punts were blocked.

He earned the nickname “Coffin Corner” due to his ability to pin teams close to the end zone with his high kicks and sail.

Coleman was inducted into the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.

Vaughn Wilson, left, and Greg Coleman.

Wilson followed in Coleman’s footsteps and kicked for the Rattlers from 1985 to 1988, also earning All-America status.

Wilson attended one of Coleman’s punting camps and was invited to the Viking preseason camp on Coleman’s recommendation.

“He inspired me for decades, was a shining example in the NFL when I played in college and still inspires me today,” Wilson said.

Coleman shared his thanks on social media during Saturday’s induction ceremony, presented by the Atlanta Falcons.

“Mom, we did it! It’s been a hell of a trip and tonight is a done deal. I was inducted into @BCFHOF with a very special group of men. Thank God for His blessings, his favor, grace and mercy allowing me to see this day Thank you family, friends @FAMUAthletics, “Coleman tweeted.

Coleman is also the cousin of former FAMU and Major League Baseball player Vince Coleman.

Coleman was consecrated with Coy Bacon (Jackson State), Jimmie Giles (Alcorn State), Winston Hill (Texas Southern), Roynell Young (Alcorn State) and coach Willard Bailey (Virginia Union, Norfolk State, St. Paul’s and Virginia -Lynchburg).

COLEMAN ORGANIC

Punter… Florida A&M University (1972-1975)… Selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 14th round of the 1976 NFL Draft… Cincinnati Bengals (1976)… Cleveland Browns (1977)… Minnesota Vikings (1978-1987)… Washington Football Team (1988)… Earned the nickname “Coffin Corner”… First African American punter in NFL history… Selected by fans for the Vikings’ 40th anniversary team… Born September 9 1954.

Contact Jim Henry at [email protected]

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