Photo by Gabriel Stovall
Twin brothers Scott (left) and Calvin Coleman sign their letters of intent to Darton State College in Albany Wednesday. The Jonesboro wrestlers have each made an appearance at state over the last two years.
JONESBORO — Calvin and Scott Coleman have Darton State College wrestling coach James Hicks seeing double vision. But Hicks doesn’t see it as a problem.
That’s because the twin brothers from Jonesboro High represent a rare Southern Crescent coup for the college’s wrestling program, as they signed letters of intent to wrestle for the Albany school in the fall.
“It’s a big deal for us to add two talented wrestlers to our squad,” said Hicks, who is in his first year as Darton State’s coach. “The main thing is we feel like we’ve got two bright men with great character and a bright future ahead of them.”
Hicks said the two-year school, to his knowledge, had never poached Jonesboro for any wrestling talent. But he is impressed enough with the program Cardinals coach Gene Johnson has developed that he’s confident the first Jonesboro athletes to the school won’t be the last.
“We definitely would like to get more kids from here in the future,” Hicks said.
Hicks said the two wrestlers will bring depth to a “traditionally strong lighter weight tradition.” He expects them to bring depth and challenge to compete right away. None of these things is a surprise to Johnson.
“(Calvin and Scott) are among the best I’ve had here,” said Johnson, in his ninth year at Jonesboro. “As far as achievement, discipline, drive, commitment, natural talent. I mean I knew from the first day of practice as freshmen we were seeing something special from them.”
Calvin Coleman starred for Jonesboro in the 2012-13 season, compiling a 62-8 record and finishing third in Class AAAA’s 120-pound division. He also added region and sectionals crowns to his resume this past season.
His brother Scott wasn’t too shabby either, finishing runner-up in the area championships and finishing third in sectionals to qualify for the state tournament.
The brothers shared the same excitement as they inked their letters of intent in a jam-packed conference room at the school, filled with wrestling teammates, coaches, school staff and students who came to take pictures and show support for the Colemans.
“Today means a lot to me,” Scott Coleman said. “Just coming up here from my freshman year and to get an opportunity to continue my career in college is just a blessing.”
Calvin Coleman said this day wasn’t on the radar when he first began.
“Coming in, I didn’t know much about wrestling technically,” Calvin said. “But it didn’t take long for me to realize I could be good from the start. It’s been a lot of hard work, but I stuck to it and now I’m able to go further in college and hopefully win a national title and become an All-American.”
Johnson said that both student-athletes exhibited the intangibles, in addition to athletic ability, that caused them to be leaders amongst the Cardinals’ grapplers.
And as exciting a moment as this is for Johnson and his program – the Colemans are the third and fourth wrestlers during his time as coach to accept wrestling scholarship offers – Johnson believes that the brothers’ recent successes are just preludes to future greatness.
“They’re going to fit in on the next level just fine,” Johnson said. “I know they’re going to get up there and learn, grow and put in the work that should make them ready to get into a top D-1 or D-2 school easily. The sky’s the limit for them.”