Don Coleman
Linebacker, Fullback, Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1952-01-11)January 11, 1952
Place of birth: Toledo, Ohio
High School: Toledo St. John
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 222 lb (101 kg)
Career information
College: Michigan
NFL Draft: 1974 / Round: 16 / Pick: 398
Debuted in 1974 for the New Orleans Saints
Last played in 1975 for the New Orleans Saints
Career history
* New Orleans Saints (1974-1975)
Career highlights and awards
Stats at

Donald Alvin Coleman (born January 11, 1952) is an American entrepreneur, advertising executive and a pioneer in the growing field of multicultural advertising. Coleman is the founder, chairman and CEO of GlobalHue, the largest multicultural advertising agency in the United States, working with blue chip brands and organizations to communicate with African-American, Asian and Hispanic consumers. He is also a former American football player, having played college football at the University of Michigan from 1971 to 1973 and professional football for the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets from 1974 to 1978.

Early yearsEdit

Coleman was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1952,[1] and grew up in that city's Old West End neighborhood. His mother, Dorothy Coleman, worked for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and his father, Augustus Coleman, worked as a skycap for United Airlines and as a janitor at a library.[2]

At the suggestion of teachers at his public school, who told his parents that Coleman was not sufficiently challenged, he transferred to St. John's Jesuit High School and Academy. He attended St. John's from 1966 to 1970 where he excelled in academics and sports. Coleman was an All-City and All-State running back for St. John's and was recruited by multiple colleges to play football. He later recalled: "When it came time to select a university, I had about 20 coaches visiting the house, talking up their programs. I chose the University of Michigan. I received a full scholarship."[2]

University of MichiganEdit

Coleman enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1970 on a football scholarship. He played college football for the Michigan Wolverines under head coach Bo Schembechler from 1971 to 1973. Coleman began the 1971 season as a backup fullback, but Schembechler moved him to defensive end in late September 1971.[3][4] Coleman played at defensive end from 1972 to 1973 and helped the Wolverines tie for first place in the Big Ten Conference both years.[5][6][7] Although still listed as a defensive end, Schembechler described Coleman's role as follows in 1973: "In our defense we use a flop-end. So Coleman is actually a pro linebacker. He has to cover the pass as part of his responsibility today more so than normal."[8] Coleman had 51 tackles and 52 assists for the Wolverines.[9]

Professional footballEdit

Coleman was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the 16th round (398th overall pick) of the 1974 NFL Draft. He played two seasons for the Saints in 1974 and 1975, appearing in 27 NFL games.[1] Coleman was cut by the Saints in August 1976.[10] He signed as a free agent with the New York Jets shortly after being released by the Saints,[11] but he missed the entire 1976 NFL season with a left knee injury. In August 1977, Coleman underwent surgery on his right knee,[12] and he was placed on injured reserve status.[13] The Jets released Coleman in June 1978.[14]

Advertising careerEdit

While recovering from football injuries, Coleman obtained an M.B.A. degree in marketing from Hofstra University in New York in 1976.[15] In 1978, he was hired as an assistant account executive at the Campbell-Ewald advertising agency in Detroit. He later recalled: "I was the only black person in account management in the office. It was boring work, but I was speedy and accurate, persevered and became a full account executive."[2] In 1983, he became senior vice president and management supervisor on the Chevrolet account.[2]

Coleman next began a career in advertising directed to minority communities. He was hired in 1983 as a senior vice president and account director for Burrell Advertising, a Chicago firm specializing in advertising to minorities.[2]

In 1988, he formed Don Coleman Associates, which became Don Coleman Advertising in 1991. He sold a minority interest in the company and bought two additional agencies, one focused on the Asian-American market (Innovasia Communications) and one focused on the Hispanic market (Montemayor y Asociados). He combined the companies into GlobalHue, specializing in a culture based approach to marketing. He is the chairman and chief executive of GlobalHue.[2]

In 2009, GlobalHue's capitalized billings were $833.7 million. The company has approximately 300 employees in Southfield, Michigan and New York City. Its clients include Subway, the United States Navy, U.S. Census 2010, Verizon Wireless, Merck & Co., Inc., Walmart and Chrysler Group.[15] In 2009, GlobalHue was named "Multicultural Advertising Agency of the Decade" by Advertising Week magazine.[16][17][18] In 2010, Black Enterprise magazine named GlobalHue the BE 100 Advertising Agency of the Year, an honor that GlobalHue also received in 1998 and 2003.[19] Coleman's daughter, Kelli Coleman, has also worked for GlobalHue since 2002 and is the vice president for business development.[20]

In 2009, Coleman launched The Coleman Entrepreneurial Scholarship (CES), which strives to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice among college students of ethnic backgrounds, particularly African-American and Hispanic.[21] CES awards $50,000 in scholarships annually.[22]

Coleman is also a member of the External Advisory Board at the A.C. Nielsen Center Marketing Research Business School, the Board of Visitors at The Howard University John H. Johnson School of Communications, and the Board of Trustees for the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History[23] and the Louis Carr Internship Foundation. Since 1999, he has served as vice chairman of the National Action Network (NAN), where he is a contributor to the organization's fundraising initiatives.


  • 2010 Best of Black Business Advertising Award
  • 2010 Ranked #31 in the list of the "Top 40 Titans: The Most Powerful African Americans in Business" by Black Enterprise magazine
  • 2009 Moss Kendrix Marketer Award from the National Alliance of Market Developers


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Don Coleman".
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Don Coleman (April 17, 2010). "Boss: Lessons From the Gridiron". The New York Times.
  3. "Michigan Shifts Coleman To End". The Blade, Toledo, Ohio. September 29, 1971.,4727795&dq=don-coleman+michigan&hl=en.
  4. "U-M's Grambau Making Comeback". The Owosso Argus-Press. September 29, 1972.,2976106&dq=don-coleman+michigan&hl=en.
  5. "1972 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  6. "1973 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  7. "University of Michigan All-time Rosters Search Page". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. "Coleman" for last name and "Donald" for first name on the search page, and press enter)
  8. "'Cute' defenders make the big play". The Michigan Daily. September 25, 1973.,1342308&dq=don-coleman+michigan&hl=en.
  9. "Michigan Football Statistic Archive Query Page". University of Michigan. Retrieved July 20, 2011.(To access Coleman's record, enter "Don" as his first and "Coleman" as his last name in the main search page. Then click on "Display Stats By Season" to access his game-by-game and season-by-season results.)
  10. "The Scoreboard". Daily Sentinel. August 5, 1976.,1958810&dq=don-coleman+orleans&hl=en.
  11. "Coleman Is Signed". The New York Times. August 21, 1976.
  12. "Knee surgery". The Spokesman-Review. August 27, 1977.,4697082&dq=don-coleman+york+jets&hl=en.
  13. "Rookie Leads Giants To Win". The Evening News. August 30, 1977.,5152387&dq=don-coleman+york+jets&hl=en.
  14. "Sports Transactions". The Sumter Daily Item. June 17, 1978.,6923261&dq=don-coleman+york+jets&hl=en.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Donald Coleman". The History Makers.
  16. "MULTICULTURAL AGENCY OF THE DECADE: GlobalHue". Advertising Week.
  17. Mike Chapman (January 14, 2010). "Q&A: GlobalHue's Don Coleman". Advertising Week.
  18. "Making Cultural Connections". Black Enterprise.
  19. "WATCH: 2010 BE 100s Award Winner". Black Enterprise. May 19, 2010.
  20. "Twenty in the Twenties: Kelli Coleman, 23". Crain's Detroit.

External linksEdit

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