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irish insider

Coleman develops on, off field, acts as captain

| Friday, November 9, 2018

Senior defensive back Nick Coleman has started at all three positions — corner, nickel and safety — and has been the “Swiss Army knife” of defensive backs since he joined the team in 2015, bringing his versatility to the field and fitting in wherever the Irish need him.

“During 2016 I even talked to Coach Kelly about playing running back cause we were down on them,” Coleman said. “But having that versatility has worked out for me and the team. Playing different positions helps me help guys like [freshmen defensive backs] Houston Griffith and Tariq Bracy.”

Michelle Mehelas | The Observer

Irish senior safety Nick Coleman prepares to cut during Notre Dame’s 24-16 win over Ball State on Sept. 8 at Notre Dame Stadium.

With a dad who played football at Notre Dame in 1983 as a tailback, Coleman said he was an Ohioan raised in a Notre Dame family.

“I remember the 2005 Fiesta bowl, it was a big game for me and my family,” Coleman said. “And years later I got the offer to come here, and it was pretty hard to turn down. There were two other schools I really liked, but Notre Dame was for me. My dad did not sway my decision, he wanted to stay out of it, but of course he was happy when I chose to come here.” 

Coleman’s first game was the 2015 season-opening 38-3 win over Texas under the lights in Notre Dame stadium, and he added a pair of tackles and one solo stop to his fledgling resume.

Although Notre Dame finished that season 10-3, Coleman and the rest of his senior class have been through the low 2016 season going 4-8, but he said being part of the program’s rebuild has only added to his Notre Dame football career.

“It’s been really cool to be a part of the rebound season, and it’s something I will remember for the rest of my life,” Coleman said. “We put a lot of work during the off-season after 2016, and after having a good season last year, we’ve upheld that standard for this season. As much as that down-year hurt and sucked, it made the second half of my career that much better.”

Similar to working his way through the team’s highs and lows, Coleman said his biggest achievement is working up the ranks, building his leadership and serving as a captain against Navy.

“Being a captain a couple weeks ago meant a lot to me,” Coleman said. “I’m not a full time captain, but building my role every year and being able to have my hand over guys like Griffith and Bracy and have an impact on them means a lot.”

On the flip side, Coleman said older players have had as much of an influence on him when he started his Notre Dame football career, one being former cornerback Cole Luke.

“I looked up to Cole Luke and [former linebacker] James Onwualu,” Coleman said. “Cole was in my position group, and he is a guy who I will have as a friend for the rest of my life. He taught me how to be a mature player and act like a professional, and now he is at the [Carolina] Panthers doing great things.”

Developing as a person on and off the field, Coleman said attending Notre Dame has had an impact on his faith life, specifically his assistant strength and conditioning coach David Grimes and running backs coach Autry Denson’s fellowship group.

“It’s like a Bible study group that meets every week after practice on Thursday,” Coleman said. “We have certain passages we look at and digest and it brightens every Thursday for me. We talk about the passages and our walk with Christ together, and that experience will always stick out for me.”

When Coleman is not around the Guglielmino Athletics Complex or LaBar Practice Complex as much during the spring semester, he can be found at Strikes and Spares on Grape Road.

“When I have more free time, I love to bowl,” Coleman. “I am decent and I get over 100. My best is around 145. I’m not crazy good and I don’t have my own ball. But my friends and I almost got a membership at that bowling alley because during the cold months we bowl and go to the movies all the time on the weekend.”

As post-graduate life becomes more of a reality, Coleman will finish his four years balancing life as a student athlete and hope to play at the next level or use his managing consulting degree to own AT&T Stadium.

“My dream job is to play at the next level, but my end goal is to be an executive manager of a stadium, specifically the Dallas Cowboys’ Stadium,” Coleman said. “They have the cream-of-the-crop stadium.”

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About Meagan Bens

Meagan is a junior Visual Communication Design major and Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy minor living in Lyons Hall. She serves as a sports writer and hails from the suburbs of Chicago.

Contact Meagan