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Central Washington University

Long-time WIldcat Assistant Basketball Coach Heads to Hawaii

Dating back to his youth, GE Coleman has been associated with Central Washington University men’s basketball for most of his life. He is now starting a new chapter after being hired as the head coach of the University of Hawai’i at Hilo (UHH) men’s basketball team.

“This is the first head coaching job I’ve ever applied for,” Coleman said. “That’s a credit to Central and how much I love this place.”

GE was a fixture on the sidelines when his father, the late Gil Coleman, was an assistant coach to Wildcat legend Dean Nicholson, and also from 1990 to ’95, when the elder Coleman was head coach of the Wildcats.

“Coach Nicholson means the world to me,” Coleman said, “and, of course, I loved my dad. I could not have had two better mentors early on in basketball and in life.”

Now 31, GE has been the associate head coach for the CWU men’s program for the past six seasons. He also served for five years as an assistant coach while working on his bachelor’s degree at CWU, which he completed in 2005.

“I’m very happy for GE,” said CWU head coach Greg Sparling. “The opportunity to become a head coach is something that he has always wanted, so I couldn’t be more excited for him and the opportunity that Hawaii Hilo is providing.”

Coleman helped lead the Wildcats to the NCAA Division II tournament in each of his first four seasons on the bench as a full-time CWU assistant coach. The Wildcats also qualified for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's basketball tournament each of the past two years.

Dexter Irvin, UHH director of athletics, added, “I believe GE Coleman has a basketball pedigree that will enable him to build a championship program at UH Hilo. I am appreciative of the experience and the education he has received at CWU. He has worked with, and for, many great people there.”

Coleman also spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Eastern Washington University, for former Wildcat assistant coach Mike Burns, before returning to Ellensburg in 2007. He played high school basketball at Onalaska High School, where he graduated in 2000.

Coleman says the UHH job is a good fit since it is in the NCAA West Region, with which he is very familiar, and because it is a program which he believe he can build into a post-season contender. He expects to leave for Hilo next week. His official start date is July 1. 

While Coleman admits leaving CWU is bittersweet, he adds, “I’m embracing the challenge over there.”

Media contact: Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,

June 18, 2013

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