Ken Coleman
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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman
Kenneth Robert Coleman

(1925-04-22)April 22, 1925
DiedAugust 21, 2003(2003-08-21) (aged 78)
Plymouth, Massachusetts, U.S.
OccupationTV/Radio sportscaster, NFL radio announcer
Years active1952–1989
RelativesCasey Coleman (son)

Kenneth Robert Coleman (April 22, 1925 - August 21, 2003) was an American radio and television sportscaster for more than four decades (1947[1]-1989).

Coleman was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1925, the son of William (a salesman) and his wife Frances. The family subsequently moved to Dorchester, Massachusetts, and then to Quincy, Massachusetts, where he was raised. He graduated from North Quincy High School in 1943. [2] While in high school, he was a pitcher on the North Quincy High School baseball team,[3] and subsequently played in the semi-pro Park League. But he had dreams of being a sports broadcaster from the time he was a boy, when he enjoyed listening to the games on radio. [4]

After serving in the U.S. Army, where he was a sergeant during World War II,[5] Coleman took oratory courses for one year at Curry College, and then broke into broadcasting in Rutland, Vermont in 1947, working for station WSYB. He called the play-by-play of the minor league Rutland Royals baseball team. He also was a newscaster and a deejay on the station. [6] He then was hired at hometown team WJDA in Quincy MA, where he worked as a sports reporter until 1951; he then worked for a year at WNEB in Worcester. [7] During this time, he was broadcasting Boston University football. [8] He received critical praise for his college football play-by-play, which led to his big break: in 1952, he got the opportunity to broadcast for the NFL Cleveland Browns (1952-1965), calling play-by-play of every touchdown that Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown ever scored. He also began his MLB broadcasting career in Cleveland, calling Cleveland Indians games on television for ten seasons (1954-1963). In his first year with the Indians, Coleman called their record-setting 111-win season and their World Series loss to the New York Giants.

In 1966, Coleman was chosen to become a play-by-play announcer for the Boston Red Sox, replacing Curt Gowdy, who resigned after 15 years of calling Red Sox games, to become a play-by-play announcer for NBC. [9] Coleman joined a broadcast team that also included Ned Martin and Mel Parnell.[10] He signed a three-year contract that paid him $40,000 per year. [11] Coleman broadcast the 1967 World Series (which the Red Sox lost to the St. Louis Cardinals) for NBC television and radio. From 1975 to 1978 Coleman worked with the Cincinnati Reds' television crew.

Coleman broadcast college football for various teams, including Ohio State, Harvard, and BU. He was the play-by-play announcer for the 1968 Harvard-Yale football game, a game that will be forever be remembered for the incredible Harvard comeback from a 16-point deficit to tie Yale at 29-29. He also called NFL games for NBC in the early 1970s, and later in his career called Connecticut and Fairfield basketball games for Connecticut Public Television.

After the legendary radio combination of Ned Martin and Jim Woods were fired for failing to follow the dictates of sponsors following the 1978 season, Coleman returned to Boston in 1979. He broadcast the Red Sox' 1986 World Series loss to the New York Mets and two Red Sox ALCS (1986 and 1988). Coleman remained in the Red Sox radio booth until his retirement in 1989.

Additionally, he wrote books on sportscasting, was one of the founding fathers of the Red Sox Booster Club and the BoSox Club, and was intimately involved with the Jimmy Fund, which raises money for cancer research.

Coleman followed the routine of taking a swim in the Atlantic Ocean as often as he could through the late fall and into the earliest days of spring, until his death.

He was the father of the late Cleveland sports and newscaster Casey Coleman, who died in 2006 from pancreatic cancer.

Coleman was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame on May 18, 2000 at the age of 75. He died three years later, aged 78, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, from complications of bacterial meningitis.[12]

In 1972, Coleman, along with Dick Stockton rotated play-by-play duties for New England Patriots preseason with no color commentators.


  1. ^ Pres Hobson. "Press Box." Quincy (MA) Patriot-Ledger, August 1, 1947, p. 8.
  2. ^ Paul Katzeff. "Sox Voice Bats Cleanup for Jimmy Fund." Boston Herald, July 27, 1980, p. 60.
  3. ^ "North Quincy Bops Thayer." Quincy (MA) Patriot-Ledger, May 25, 1943, p. 10.
  4. ^ Hy Hurwitz. "Broadcasting Red Sox Games Coleman's Boyhood Ambition." Boston Globe, March 6, 1966, p. 55.
  5. ^ D. Leo Monahan. "Coleman Vows Impartial Reporting." Boston Sunday Advertiser, March 6, 1966, p. 80.
  6. ^ Pres Hobson. "Press Box." Quincy (MA) Patriot-Ledger, August 1, 1947, p. 8.
  7. ^ D. Leo Monahan. "Coleman Vows Impartial Reporting." Boston Sunday Advertiser, March 6, 1966, p. 80.
  8. ^ Art Cullison. "Strangers to Air Browns Games." Akron (OH) Beacon-Journal, July 25, 1952, p. 34.
  9. ^ "Browns Seek Replacement for TV Voice." Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 5, 1966, p. 42.
  10. ^ Larry Claflin. "Quincy's Coleman New Sox Announcer." Boston Record American, March 5, 1966, p. 38.
  11. ^ Hy Hurwitz. "Broadcasting Red Sox Games Coleman's Boyhood Ambition." Boston Globe, March 6, 1966, p. 55.
  12. ^ "Ken Coleman: Longtime Sports Broadcaster." (Columbia, So. Carolina) The State, August 23, 2003, p. 9.

External links

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