John Douglas Coleman (23 November 1928 – 5 April 1973) was an Australian rules footballer and coach for Essendon in the Victorian Football League. He was a player that is considered the greatest of all time. The famous high-leaping full-forward’s career was finished at the age of 25 after a knee injury midway through the 1954 season. In 1961, he returned to Essendon as a coach.
Greatest Sporting Achievements
John Coleman is the second highest goal kicker in the history of Victorian League Football/Australian Football League scoring 537 goals in 98 matches. He became Essendon’s Best and Fairest in 1949, a two-time Essendon Premiership Player, a four-time VFL League Goal-Kicker, six-time Essendon Leading Goal-Kicker, two-time Essendon Premiership Coach and became part of the All-Australian and AFL and Essendon Team of the Century. In 2002, Coleman was recognized as the second greatest player to play for Essendon in the “Champions of Essendon” list, just next to Dick Reynolds.
Why Was He So Good?
Coleman was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996 with a “Legend” status. Against Hawthorn in 1949, he made his debut for Essendon and scored 12 goals during that match. It was pretty clear that Essendon hit the jackpot. John Coleman astonishing aerial ability with superb ground skills and a deadly accurate goal kicks. And it wasn’t just his skills that made an indefinable charisma for his achievements. Coleman possessed a striking and extraordinary on-field presence. Most of the time, he was on the receiving end of rough treatment from opponents since “as long as Essendon get the goals, Coleman doesn’t worry who kicks them.” As a coach, Coleman was a cleaver tactician. He shunned the hysterics of his rival coaches, focusing his efforts instead of controlling the skills and abilities of his players.
What You May Not Know
- The Coleman Medal is named after him. It is awarded to the AFL player who kicks the most goals during the home and away season.
- He was the first postwar VFL player to kick a hundred goals in a season.
- Coleman went to the University of Melbourne and finished a degree in commerce due to his understanding of the commercial potential of his fame.
- He went to business on his own, running hotels like the Auburn Hotel, Essendon Hotel and West Brunswick Hotel.
- John Coleman also wrote for the Herald newspaper and became a commentator on television in 1956.
- He moved to Mornington Peninsula, bought a rural property at Arthurs Seat and ran the Dromana Hotel.
- He died from of sudden coronary atheroma at age 44.
Was he a legend?
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