Information from Ken Moran 06/21/2020. JFC
John Edward Coalmon
Dec. 7, 1937 - Sep. 25, 2018
One of the star players from a special time in South Bend basketball history has died.
John Edward Coalmon, who starred for South Bend Central High School, died in New York on Sept. 25 at age 80.
Coalmon was a member of the 30-0 state champion Bears in 1957 and was named Mr. Basketball following that season.
After struggling with a knee injury and scoring just 116 points his sophomore year, when Central finished 10-11, the 6-foot-4, 195-pound Coalmon scored 221 points in 1955-56 when the Bears were 17-8.
In the 1956-57 season, he scored 528 points, finishing with 865 for his career, and led Central to the title.
"John was a fierce, fierce competitor," Jim Powers an assistant coach on that team, told The Tribune in 2008 when Coalmon was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. "He was dedicated — whether it was schoolwork (a solid 'B' student) or basketball. He was always focused on being the best."
Coalmon left South Bend and attended Fordham University in the Bronx and graduated with a degree in sociology in 1961. He played four years at Fordham, where he was a captain his senior year, and never left the area.
He later graduated from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, earning a master's degree in theology from Long Island University.
He retired as a supervisor with the New York City Department of Social Services in 2002.
Coalmon, with eight siblings, grew up in a small house on Walnut Street.
"When I look back, the highlights overshadow the things that might have been problems," Coalmon told The Tribune in 2008. "The biggest problem was our economic situation. I was a poor boy. I played basketball to look forward to something."
Coalmon was always humble about being singled out for his success.
"I was just lucky to get the attention I got," he said. "At the time, Central was one of those teams that was able to catch the imagination of people. I just happened to be the right player on the right team."
Services are in the Bronx on Friday at St. Stephen's United Methodist Church.
South Bend Tribune