Townie Sports

CHS names former star Hugh Coleman as hoop coach


Charlestown High School has hired one of the state’s most successful high school basketball coaches, a man whose family name is already synonymous with basketball excellence at the school.

Hugh Coleman, who graduated from Charlestown High in 1997 and went on to excel at Bowdoin College before returning as an assistant coach of the Townies during their run of state titles in the early 2000s, has been named Charlestown’s the new boys basketball head coach this week.

CHS Principal Will Thomas and Athletic Director Paige Lemieux have officially welcomed Coleman to the program and the 40-year-old alumnus has begun plans for the upcoming 2018-19 season.

Coleman has been the head coach at Brighton High School for the past nine years, leading the Bengals to state championships in 2013 and 2017.

“It feels amazing to be back at Charlestown High,” said Coleman. “When I would walk in the school with my Brighton teams over the last nine years, I would always point out to my players the banners and the retired jerseys. There’s so much tradition here and I’m honored to be back here coaching at such a great school and teaming up with such a supportive administration.”

During his playing career at Charlestown High, Coleman was an All-Star shooting guard and playmaker who earned the respect of his teammates and was elected a team captain.

“I call those years when I played ‘the foundation years’ with coach [Jack] O’Brien, when we built a foundation that future teams were able to build off of,” recalled Coleman.

He went to become a four-year starter at Bowdoin College where he set the all-time three-point record and entered the 1,000-point club. Coleman graduated in 2002 with a degree in English and a minor in Education.

He returned to Charlestown High School as a teacher and assistant boys basketball coach on Jack O’Brien’s staff. Charlestown won five city and state titles in six years, an achievement that has not been equaled in Boston hoop history.

Coleman became the head coach at Brighton High School in the 2009-10 season and quickly put his imprint on the program academically and athletically. His players had an average GPA of 3.0 during this past season, continuing a steady rise from his first season at the helm of the program.

On the court, Coleman made Brighton the No. 1 hoop powerhouse in the city.  Brighton advanced to the Division 2 state final in 2012, and a year later Coleman guided the Bengals to the school’s first-ever state championship. He enjoyed a second state championship season in 2017. His teams won three city titles.

Coleman said he will bring the successful formula that worked in Brighton to his new position in Charlestown.

“I enjoy helping my players becoming better character people and helping them grow as young men and  scholars,” said Coleman. “My order of working with the young men is character, academics, and then basketball. This is the formula that I have found to be successful.”

Hugh’s family has strong ties to Charlestown High School. His brother, Derek, was an All-Scholastic and Globe Super Teamer on four consecutive Division 2 state championship teams (2000-03) under head coach Jack O’Brien (Hugh was an assistant coach for the 2002 and 2003 teams).  Derek played four seasons in the Division 1 Robert Morris University program and five seasons of professional basketball overseas.

Hugh is the son of Joanne Coleman and Hugh Morris and he has eight siblings. His wife, Emily Hunter Coleman, is serving as a principal intern at Charlestown High while she pursues her doctorate at New England College. The Colemans have four children, Jordyn, Jaylen, Juliyen, and Jayda.

Coleman, who is a student engagement counselor at Excel High School in South Boston, said he is looking forward to working with Will Thomas, whom he first met when he was a teacher at CHS and Thomas was assistant principal.

“Mr. Thomas has done a great job as principal,” said Coleman. “There is a lot of energy here. The students are fully engaged and that’s a testament to Mr. Thomas’ leadership. And his decision to hire Ms. Lemieux as full-time athletic director was excellent.”

Coleman has high expectations for the Charlestown program.

“The team goal is ultimately to win a city and state championship,” said Coleman. “I want to make sure that the values of character and academics come first, but I know that if get these young men to buy in wholeheartedly to be great men of character and great students, I have no doubt that we will have the opportunity to play for city and state championships.”

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