SPRINGFIELD — Huge expectations followed J.D. Coleman to Effingham County High School three years ago. The catcher, now a senior, has lived up to them all, especially those that matter the most.
“J.D. is a great student in the hallway and he is a leader in our school,” Effingam County Athletic Director Matt Huntley said.
Former head baseball coach Chris Johnson paid Coleman the ultimate tribute during a signing ceremony in the Effingham County gym lobby Monday morning. Coleman inked a national letter of intent to attend Queens University of Charlotte.
“Over the four years that I’ve been here, his name has been synonymous with Effingham County High School baseball and the Rebel way of doing things,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s successor, Shane Ramsey, agrees that Coleman is the epitome of a Rebel.
“He exemplifies everything that we want,” Ramsey said.
Coleman’s emergence as a fine student and leader came as no surprise to his coaches. His parents, Johnny and Greta, are teachers in the Effingham County School District.
“The first day that I walked on this campus almost four years ago and got to know the kind of kids involved in the baseball program, one of the first names that kept coming up was J.D. Coleman,” Johnson said. “I got to know him over that first year and there was no doubt that where he is right now is where he was headed the first day I met him. He is, just like Coach Huntley said, a tremendous leader within the school.”
“I am glad to have him in the weight room every single day and he attacks the weight room the same way he attacks school, the same way he attacks life, the same way he shares his faith, which is as a strong leader, and the way he exemplifies on the baseball field.”
Ramsey said Queens University of Charlotte’s coaches are counting on Coleman to be “a pillar” of their fledgling NCAA Division II program. The Royals’ first season was in 2019.
“Well, I can’t think of a bigger pillar in our program, and this is what we want our program to be — kids signing scholarships,” Ramsey said. “The other stuff will take care of itself. J.D.’s dream here — the reality is — can happen to anybody if you work hard, sacrifice, compete and aren’t afraid to be great.”
A modest sort, Coleman spoke very briefly after putting his pen to paper.
“I want to start off by thanking God for making all this possible,” he said. “I want to thank my family for making all the sacrifices they made to put me in this position. I’d also like to thank my coaches and teammates over the years.
“Y’all have been a big part of this journey for me and I feel very grateful for y’all.”