HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - by Chris Turner, WTOK
Former Southern Miss linebacker Sidney Coleman once made a living on sacking quarterbacks.
Now, Coleman lives in the Queen City, patrolling the schools and the streets.
"[Coleman] came on in July of 2014," said Meridian School District Police Chief Ricardo Clayton. "He had the personality to go with his size to make people feel comfortable and feel safe."
A product of Harrison Central High School, Coleman saw a defensive unit he could fit in with instantly at USM. The linebacker racked up the third-most tackles in school history (438) in his four college football seasons (1984-87).
"The University of Southern Mississippi's defense was known as the 'Nasty Bunch,'" Coleman said. "That's how I played when I played football. I was hard-nosed and I wanted to be a part of that."
Following a multi-year career in the NFL with the Phoenix Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Coleman joined up with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, and eventually, the Meridian Police Department.
"He actually has over 20 years of law enforcement experience," Clayton said. "So he brought a wealth of experience, a knowledge, as well as a calmness, irregardless of whatever is going on."
On Saturday, Southern Miss welcomed North Texas to Hattiesburg for a C-USA contest. The night before, USM welcomed Coleman as one of the six newest members of the university's M-Club Hall of Fame.
"I was just happy when I found out that I would be inducted," Coleman said.
"To know that you had an athlete, that was apparently pretty good if he is going into the hall of fame," Clayton said. "And to cross over into the law enforcement arena and be able to give back to the community, and render service to people, I think it's a great thing."