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February 10, 2010 > Mariner captain signs with Cal Poly

Mariner captain signs with Cal Poly

By David J. Nicolas

After his team's turn-around from a 0-10 2008 season to a respectable 4-6 record in '09, Moreau Catholic High School defensive specialist Joseph Coleman will continue his dream of playing football at the next level. The senior, who was selected to the First-Team All-Bay Shore League and Lineman of the Year last season, will play on scholarship at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the Central Coast, joining former Moreau football head coach Tim Walsh.

"I could wake up every day and not complain about playing football," Coleman said about the signing. "It's something I want to do for the rest of my life."

Coleman finished his final high school football season with 75 tackles and eight sacks. He rushed for 10 yards to score one touchdown on the offensive side of the ball, too.

"We had the best football player on the field every Friday night," said current Moreau head coach Andrew Cotter about Coleman. "Not all of the kids came from a football background, but knowing that Joe was out there helped our team play with aggression and confidence."

Coleman didn't mind the pressure. The 6'1", 265-pound lineman has played competitive football since 2002. Before Moreau Catholic, he worked on his gridiron skills in the Pop Warner Little Scholars league. He played baseball, basketball and football in high school, eventually making varsity squads for the latter two. But as the schoolwork of an upper classmen combined with the academic obligations of college applications, Coleman realized that giving up a sport was almost necessary.

After his first SAT score made him ineligible to play collegiate football, Coleman declined to play basketball until his test results improved. Life revolved around practice tests instead of drills on the field; his teammates were now his captain, encouraging him to hit the books as hard as he hit his Friday night opponents. The work paid off.

Scouts from San Diego State University, Idaho State University, University of North Dakota, University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Cal Poly showed strong interest in Coleman. But after a weekend visit to San Luis Obispo, Coleman fell in love with its welcoming community and positive vibes from the coaching staff. He knew that he was a fit.

Coleman will play under Coach Walsh who has a combined 117-82 record in 18 seasons as a collegiate football coach. He was a head coach at Sonoma State (1989-92) and Portland State (1990-2006). During his tenure at Sonoma, Walsh helped the team to a Northern California Athletic Conference title in 1991 and two NCAA Division II playoff berths. Before being named the Cal Poly's head coach in January 2009, he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the United States Military Academy.

Walsh was also Moreau Catholic's head coach from 1982-88.

Coleman can't wait to continue his football career at a Division I school. Coleman will be expected to play offense to Cal Poly. He is uncertain if he will study business or criminal justice, but will remain ambitious with his favorite sport and a little closer to fulfilling his ultimate goal-an induction into the NFL Hall of Fame as a player or a coach.

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