Former Rebel Roy Coleman Passes Away

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Coleman makes a catch against Notre Dame in a Rebel victory over the eventual national champ.
Coleman makes a catch against Notre Dame in a Rebel victory over the eventual national champ.

Feb. 12, 2013

OXFORD, Miss. - Former Ole Miss football player Roy Coleman, a three-year letterman from 1977-79, passed away in Memphis on Feb. 5 at the age of 54.

Coleman was the first black starting quarterback at Ole Miss and an integral part of the 1977 team that knocked off eventual national champion Notre Dame in Jackson, Miss.

He played both quarterback and receiver during his time with the Rebels. He spent most of his time as a starting flanker his sophomore season in 1977 and had a 52-yard catch in that 20-13 win over the Irish on Sept. 17.

The Jackson, Miss., native started six games at quarterback his junior year, passing for 448 yards, a touchdown and an interception and rushing for 162 yards and three scores.

As a two-sport prep star, he led Jackson's Callaway High School football team to an undefeated season and state championship in 1975 and was a standout baseball pitcher with a 13-3 record as a senior. He later suited up for Jake Gibbs' Rebel baseball team as a senior in 1979, but pitched sparingly because of tendinitis in his throwing arm.

Coleman went on to earn a bachelor's degree from the University of Mississippi and then became a firefighter.

Coleman is survived by three daughters, Kristen, 23; Keeley, 15; and Katie, 14; and a son, Joshua, 21. He is also survived by his mother, Marva Coleman, a brother, Glen Coleman, and a sister, Shelia Wilkerson. He was buried Tuesday at Mount Charity Cemetery in Ridgeland, Miss.

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