ST. PAULS — Coaches and administrators at St. Pauls High School remembered Marqueise Coleman as a “great kid” and a positive influence on his school, teammates and community after the 19-year-old, who starred as a running back for the Bulldogs football team, died early Thursday as the result of a shooting in St. Pauls.
“It’s just a loss for words right now,” St. Pauls football coach Mike Setzer said. “All I can say is I’m thankful to God to be able to spend time with him. He was such a tremendous individual. He accomplished everything that we wanted him to be able to be in our program.”
“I’ve known him pretty much all his life, because me and his mother went to school together and graduated together,” St. Pauls principal Jason Suggs said. “He was like a son, man; he was just a great kid.”
Both Setzer and Suggs said the thing they’ll most remember about Coleman is his “big ole smile”.
“He walked into a room and he smiled all the time,” Suggs said. “He was just a great kid. I can say compliments about everything, but my best compliment I can give a kid is he’s a great kid. His attitude, athleticism, he worked hard in the classroom — he did it all, he was just a great kid. You can’t say one bad thing about him.”
Coleman starred for the Bulldogs’ varsity football team from 2016-19, and was named the Robeson County Heisman in 2019 after rushing for 1,984 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior; he totaled 4,271 rushing yards and 54 touchdowns for his Bulldogs career.
“He led through his play and not through his words,” Setzer said. “As a football player, he didn’t talk a lot, but he played with his heart on his sleeve. That’s what I remember about him is a big smile and a never-say-quit kind of attitude. A really great guy; a really solid leader. All our kids looked up to him; a really solid guy.”
He also played on the varsity basketball team in his junior and senior years. He graduated from the school in 2020, and signed to play football at Fayetteville State University; the Broncos did not play a season in the 2020-21 academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he was set to get on the field this fall.
“Friends and family at St. Pauls High School, we just give our deepest sympathy to the family,” Suggs said. “Losing a kid that young, with that much potential, that great of a kid, that’s tragic, without words.”
Robeson County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to North Alford Road in St. Pauls at approximately 2:40 a.m. Thursday in reference to a person being shot, according to a Sheriff’s Office press release. The victim, Coleman, was transported by private vehicle to UNC Health Southeastern before deputies arrived; he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The RCSO Homicide Division continues to actively investigate the incident as of late Friday. Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact RCSO at 910-671-3170 or 910-671-3100.
Chris Stiles can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] You can follow him on Twitter at @StilesOnSports.