New Plum basketball coach Hart Coleman ready to start scrimmages
Hart Coleman has been on the job as the Plum boys basketball coach for almost two weeks, and, he said, he's excited with what has been accomplished with the team so far and also for what his players can produce over the rest of the summer.
“The guys have been pretty receptive,” said Coleman, a 1984 Brashear graduate who played for four years at Carnegie Mellon.
“They understood there would be some changes. I came in with a clean slate and fresh eyes for everyone.”
Coleman hit the ground running and began workouts with his new players June 21, shortly after being hired.
Plum will scrimmage Monday against Riverview and begin summer league play Thursday at Imani Christian.
The league, with 10 to 12 teams, will play each Tuesday and Thursday in July.
“The league should be pretty competitive,” Coleman said. “That's what we want.”
Coleman, an assistant coach this past season with the girls team at Gateway, replaces longtime Plum boys coach Ron Richards, who stepped down at the end of the season.
Although Plum didn't secure a playoff bid this season, Richards took the Mustangs to the playoffs 10 times. His best season with the team came in 2000, when Plum reached the WPIAL semifinals.
Richards compiled a 256-148 record in two stints as Mustangs coach over 17 seasons (1998-2007 and 2009-17) and led the program to section titles in 2000, '10, '14 and '15.
He went 78-63 in six additional seasons as a head coach before coming to Plum.
“There's a different voice, but the goals are the same as they've always been,” Coleman said.
“I was familiar with Plum and its tradition for basketball. I want to continue that. All the guys know how to play. It comes down to playing well together and winning together.”
Twenty players attended a workout last week.
“We will be pretty young next year, but we have a talented bunch of young men and they are working really hard,” Coleman said.
Coleman, at 6-foot-8, is CMU's all-time leader in blocks with 204 from 1984-88. He also ranks fifth on the all-time rebounds list with 745 and seventh in career points (1,246).
Coleman moved from the area for work after college.
During that time, he coached boys and girls basketball as an assistant and head coach at Christiana High School in Newark, Del.
Coleman moved to Pittsburgh in 2014. He coached three years with Slam AAU in addition to his work with the Gators girls program.
A couple of players he coached in AAU — Alex Mitolo, Max Matolcsy and Christian Brown — will play for him at Plum.
Plum athletic director Bob Alpino said Coleman is a good fit for the program.
“We were very impressed with Coach Coleman during the interview process,” Alpino said. “He had a very successful collegiate career at Carnegie Mellon, has an extensive coaching background at the high school and AAU level and is also a registered basketball official. He was anxious to get in the gym and begin working with our players and is in the process of putting together a quality coaching staff. I'm confident that he will continue the tradition of hard work and success that coach Richards established with the Plum basketball program.”