He had two separate stints as manager the Derry senior football team, and his chief success was guiding the county to the victory in the 1993 All-Ireland Championship – Derry's first ever All-Ireland Senior Football Championship title. He also had spells as manager of Armagh, Cavan, Longford and various club sides.
Before moving into management he has an accomplished playing career with Derry and his club team Ballymaguigan.
He was born in the small County Londonderry townland of Ballymaguigan on the western shores of Lough Neagh in 1947 or 1948. His son Gary, was also a talented footballer and was left half back on the victorious 1993 Derry team; also winning an All Star for his performances that year.
He won an Ulster Under 21 Championship medal with Derry under-21s in 1967. The following year the team defended their Ulster Championship and went on to win the All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championship; beating Offaly in the final.
Coleman soon progressed into the senior team and in 1970 helped Derry win the Dr. McKenna Cup and Ulster Senior Football Championship. He won a second McKenna Cup medal in 1971. The same side won the Wembley Tournament in both these years.