Rickey L. Coleman was born and raised in Lorman, Mississippi, two miles down the back road of Alcorn State University (ASU). He is currently the Director of Academic Advising at ASU where he helps guide incoming Freshmen.
Coleman is the second oldest son of a single parent, Marietta Thornton, who worked at ASU as a cafeteria worker before becoming a switchboard operator. He has five siblings consisting of Bret, Million, Lavonie, Twala, and Jerell Coleman. Growing up, Coleman was raised as the oldest child because his oldest brother, Bret, went to live with his grandmother in California, so responsibilities fell upon him at a young age. Living on ASU’s campus in a housing project called Vet City, he attended the campus’s elementary school, Miller Elementary, until the 5th grade, where he then caught the bus to Claiborne County for public schools.
Being the oldest male in the house, Coleman tried to help out in any way that he could. From the age of 7, he picked up pecans around the campus of ASU and would sell sacks full to stores. By the age of 13, he got a job shining shoes at this grandfather’s barbershop in Port Gibson while also picking pecans when he came home. His dedication to helping his mother out helped in a tremendous way. Every school year, from the age of 13 until he graduated college he was able to buy himself and his brother’s school uniforms while his mother bought his sister’s clothes.
Upon entering college at Alcorn, Coleman had a full scholarship while majoring in Biology Pre-Med but after his Freshman year, he lost his scholarship, was dropped from the Honors Society and kicked out of the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) program. His reckless behavior of being on his own for the first time took his priorities out of focus. It wasn’t until he was kicked out of the ROTC program when he realized that he had to get back on the right track. Being in the Army has always been Coleman’s dream. As a child, he was a big comic book fanatic and always loved to watch military films. Once Coleman changed his major to Biology Health Science, he soon rejoined the ROTC at Alcorn. After graduating with his Bachelor’s degree on May 10, 1980, the following week, he married his wife of 41 years, Mary Coleman, on May 17, 1980. He then went on to join the Army on May 24, 1980, where he stayed for 26 years until his retirement. Coleman said, “The Army is one of those institutions that will grow you and grow upon you, and if you’re not an adult, it makes you an adult.”
Now, Coleman is the Director of Academic Advising at ASU, where he enjoys helping and guiding young students into mature adults. When away from the office he enjoys attending church, fishing, and playing cards with his close friends. Coleman believes that integrity plays a monumental part in everyone’s character. “My word is my bond…I try to treat everybody right regardless of who they are and how they look,” Coleman stated.