With less than two minutes to go in the first half of the 1993 Copper Bowl, Kansas State wide receiver Andre Coleman catches a punt at the left hash on his own 32-yard line.
Coleman runs to the right, receives two blocks from his teammates and heads to the right sideline. From there, he’s off to the races. No opponent even comes close to catching him, and he jaunts into the end zone for a 68-yard punt return touchdown that puts the Wildcats ahead 24-10 with 1:07 left before halftime.
At that game nearly 25 years ago, the Wildcats would go on to defeat the Wyoming Cowboys, 52-17, for the school’s first ever bowl game win.
Fast forward to August 2018, and Coleman is back at K-State preparing for his first season as the offensive coordinator for the Wildcats.
After his time as a member of the K-State football team was up, Coleman spent time in the National Football League. He played wide receiver for the San Diego Chargers from 1994-1996, the Seattle Seahawks in 1997 and for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1997 and 1998.
Coleman’s college coaching experience began in 2010 when he became the tight ends coach at Youngstown State. In 2011, he became the wide receivers coach for the Penguins and remained in that capacity for the 2012 season as well.
Coleman returned to Manhattan as the wide receivers’ coach in 2013. In January, he was promoted to offensive coordinator.
The 46-year old is a firm believer in the fact that hard work pays off.
“I really believe that if you try to be the very best at what you do, someone is going to notice and good things will happen for you,” Coleman said. “My plan wasn’t to come to K-State and wow everybody and become the offensive coordinator in ‘X’ amount of years. My plan was to come to K-State and give it everything I got.”
While being offensive coordinator does come with more recognition, pressure to succeed is high as well. Coleman said he isn’t shying away from that.
“I think on game day everybody is going to blame you,” Coleman said. “I’m fine with that. I take the credit if we’re losing or winning. It’s a team deal, I understand that and we’re in it together.”
Offensive line coach Charlie Dickey and quarterbacks coach Collin Klein — a former standout Wildcat quarterback himself — will assist him as co-offensive coordinators, taking some of the pressure of of Coleman.
“We have great — I emphasize great — offensive coaches,” Coleman said. “I am supremely confident because I have great guys that I’m working with. It gives me a lot of confidence to have Charlie Dickey, (tight ends coach) Zach Hanson, Collin Klein and (running backs coach) Eric Hickson. We work well together, we like each other. To have that type of camaraderie is really, really good.”
Making a difference in the lives of student athletes is one thing Coleman cherishes about being a coach.
“I’ve had life experiences that allow me to relate to some of these young men and I think that I can make a difference in young men’s lives,” Coleman said.
Two of Coleman’s receivers are confident about him as a play-caller.
Senior wide receiver Isaiah Zuber said that Coleman is in the right position, and that his position coach will do well getting to call the plays and will lead a balanced offense.
Junior receiver Dalton Schoen said that Coleman has a lot expertise and knowledge to pass on to his players. Schoen also expressed his excitement for Coleman to get to call the shots as the offensive coordinator.
For fans who are wondering if the offensive philosophy will change at all under Coleman, Coleman had a simple answer for what they can expect from the team this season.
“We’re going to get the ball to our best players,” Coleman said. “Simple. Period. That’s what we’re going to do. It’s simple, but that’s what it is.”