The Clarkson University Honors Program has a proud tradition of attracting talented student-athletes. Honors students have been on NCAA tournament teams and USCSA National Championship teams. They are Liberty League Performers of the Week, Liberty League All-Stars and Academic All-Americans; there are numerous team captains; and they generally participate in college sports at higher rates than other students. One of the newest stars is John Coleman, currently a sophomore mathematics major who excels on the basketball court and baseball diamond.
In John’s 2011-2012 basketball season, he started in 24 out of 25 games and averaged 13.5 points per game. Golden Knights. His stellar season earned him Liberty League Rookie of the Year and ECAC Upstate Rookie of the Year. John also had an amazing baseball campaign his freshman year. He played in all 39 games for the Golden Knights as the starting shortstop and batted .324. He earned Liberty League Rookie of the Year and was a Liberty League Honorable Mention All-Star. John Coleman is Clarkson’s the year in two different sports. He was an easy choice for the Clarkson University Male Rookie of the Year. He was the team MVP for the Brockville Bunnies, a U-19 team in Canada, where spent his summer playing baseball.
John grew up in upstate New York and graduated from Potsdam Central School. I caught up with John on a sunny September afternoon when he had off from practice.
JT: Hi, John. Welcome back to Clarkson. How was your summer?
JC: Great! I played a lot of baseball in Canada … we traveled all over, played against some French-Speaking teams in Quebec and played in Pennsylvania. We had lots of tournaments. It was a good experience.
JT: Can you tell me a story about how you got started in athletics?
JC: I’ve been involved in athletics for as long as I can remember. I have four brothers so there was always someone to play with. When my father had to get work done, he would tell us to go play outside and wouldn’t let us in. We played basketball with a hoop in the driveway. We’d play touch football, soccer — anything with a ball!
JT: What classes are you enjoying this year?
JC: Advanced Calculus — that’s the challenge of the year for me. I’m putting a lot of time into it. The Honors class is really interesting. We’re doing an Adirondack project. I feel like I really learn in [philosophy] classes. I like how they get rid of preconceived notions. It doesn’t matter what you believe, it matters what you think. What you can prove, what you can’t prove.
JT: Can you tell me about your thought process as you made your decision to attend Clarkson.
JC: That was actually a fairly easy decision to make. My older brother was going here, and he was playing baseball, and he was doing well. So whenever I had a question about Clarkson, I had my brother tell me, straight-up, what the deal was. And I found that I really liked what he had to say. I wanted to play sports in college and because I was local, I knew the coaches and they knew me.
JT: A lot of prospective students express concern about balancing the Honors Program with playing varsity sports. You’ve been able to maintain a 4.0 in mathematics while playing not one but two varsity sports. How do you make that work?
JC: The only thing I can say is that there really is time for everything. If you don’t fool around, 24 hours is a long time, and the Honors Program really doesn’t take up that much more time. I have to move along at a good pace with everything, but I’m not cutting anything. I don’t feel
JT: What are some of the dreams you have for the future?
JC: It’s an interesting question, I thought a lot about this one. When I was a little kid, this is what I dreamed I wanted to do. Where I am right now is my dream.