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Beyond the Court: Jalen Coleman’s Path to Sport Management and Community Leadership

By: Sarah Weitzman
First Published: August 22, 2023
Topics: STHM School, Student Showcase, Student Stories


Photo Credit: Mckenzie Ross

Jalen Coleman always thought of his life as a jigsaw puzzle, putting the pieces together in order to achieve his goals. Whether it was leading his high school basketball team to victory or starting his own nonprofit in his community, he always knew what piece fit next.

When deciding what college to attend, he used this same method: finding the piece that makes the best fit.

This fall, Coleman joins Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM). As a member of the Class of 2027, Coleman found his fit in STHM’s sport management and recreation major. Temple felt perfectly aligned with Coleman’s love of community. He is looking forward to bringing his leadership skills and ambitions to both the school and the city at large.

Coleman accredits his passion and drive to his high school, Davinci Communications in El Segundo, Calif.

Coleman discovered his passion and drive while attending high school in California. During his time at DaVinci Communications, he played varsity basketball and was a member of both the National Honor Society and DECA Honors Program.

“I was more of an introvert when I entered high school, but that school allowed me to open myself more and gave me the courage to share my thoughts and my visions,” Coleman says. “And most importantly, it helped me put them onto paper and get them out in the world.

Despite his achievements at school, Coleman still felt a disconnect from his community.

In his hometown of Inglewood, Calif., basketball courts were frequently vacant and deemed as unsafe for kids.

“I noticed that kids from Inglewood would have to travel 30 miles away to play basketball in Orange County, instead of playing at these empty courts in our neighborhood that weren’t being used,” Coleman says.

He started his nonprofit organization Outside J, which partners with the city, corporate and community sponsors to do events that promote free play opportunities on refurbished courts in urban communities.

“Knowing that these basketball courts are here for them and that there’s a purpose for them creates a comfortability in that we are allowed to go outside and have pride in where we are from,” Coleman adds.

Outside J organizes outdoor 3-on-3 basketball games to provide local underprivileged youth with the opportunity to play the sport in a safe community setting.

“I had a lot of joy in my heart when it came to seeing kids like me happy and have the opportunity to be able to play the game that they love,” Coleman adds.

Coleman was recognized by many organizations for the work he was doing in his community. Out of 6,400 applicants nationwide, he was selected as one of 20 high school athletes named as a Footlocker Scholar Athlete scholarship recipient. In addition, he was named as one of the 2022 Heisman High School Scholar, National scholarship recipient Honors Graduation Foundation, and 2023 Spectrum 1 News Scholar Athlete for his work in school and his community.

While choosing which college to attend, Coleman knew that Temple University was the right fit for what he wanted to pursue in his career.

“I was drawn to Temple because I saw it as an opportunity to share my message and my mission and bring that to the City of Philadelphia,” Coleman says.

“I went to Temple’s campus and I just saw how open it is, how engaging it is. I felt a sense of home,” Coleman adds.

Coleman plans to translate his love of basketball, both on the court and behind the scenes, into his academic and professional career.

“I love the game, I’m an avid basketball player, but I also like how the business side of basketball goes, organizing a team and making sure that all the pieces come together to create a good environment for players to play,” Coleman says.

Coleman goes all-in on the phrase “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” He seizes every opportunity on and off the court.

“I love putting pieces together like a puzzle and you know, to make something happen,” Coleman says.