Southern Connecticut State University Athletics is saddened to learn of the passing of gymnastics student-athlete Melanie Coleman, 20, of Milford, Conn. Coleman passed on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019 after sustaining an injury during training on Friday, Nov. 8.
"At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with Melanie's family," Director of Athletics Jay Moran said. "This has been devastating to her coaches and teammates and we hope to support them in this very difficult time. Melanie was a very bright student, an excellent athlete and involved member of the Southern Connecticut community. The entire Southern athletics family is greatly saddened by her loss."
Coleman came to Southern Connecticut from Jonathan Law High School in Milford, Conn., whereas a team captain she was the program's most valuable player and all-state selection. As a freshman at SCSU for the 2017-18 season, she joined her sister, Tiffany, who was a sophomore at the time. The two competed together until Tiffany's graduation last year.
"We are heartbroken and stunned by Melanie's passing," head coach Mary Fredericks said. "She was an incredibly hard worker and a sweet-spirited young woman. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to her family at this time. The SCSU Gymnastics team will miss her greatly though she will always be with us."
Coleman showed great leadership with the program during competition and also in the classroom. Last year, she was honored by USA Gymnastics as an All-America Scholar-Athlete, and was also recognized by Women's Collegiate Gymnastics Association (WGCA) as a Scholastic All-American. She was pursuing a degree in nursing from Southern Connecticut.
"Melanie was an extraordinary young lady that positively touched all that knew her," former head coach Jerry Nelson said. "Melanie was a true team player, a hard worker and a true pleasure to coach. I'm extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to coach her."
Coleman also volunteered as a youth instructor at New Era Gymnastics in Hamden.
Melanie's family has set up a GoFundMe.com page, as well as a page that coordinates meal donations to the family at MealTrain.com. Melanie was recently profiled in the Southern News in an article by Sam Tapper that highlights Southern Connecticut student-athletes that compete with their siblings. Melanie and her sister Tiffany were featured throughout the article.