For James Coleman on His Retirement:
I got to know James Coleman shortly after he joined our faculty in 1990 or 1991 and have valued him not only as a distinguished professor but as a good friend. Among other things, I am amazed how prolific Jim has been as an author. He is without a doubt the leading authority on contemporary African American male fiction, having produced a couple of books on John Edgar Wideman, another on Edward P. Jones, and still another award-winning work on black male fiction, as well as a book on the sacred and the spiritual in African American fiction. And I’m sure I’m forgetting a couple of other scholarly works. He has also written a memoir, not yet published (though it certainly should be). During my days as a faculty member it was great having Jim only a couple of doors down the hall in Greenlaw; almost daily we got together to talk about a number of things, though more of our conversation dealt with basketball than with the life of the mind. Since my retirement, those conversations have continued over beer and cheeseburgers at Linda’s. I know no member of our faculty—or any other faculty—I value more than James Coleman.
P.S. And I should add that I don’t know any other of our faculty members, past or present, who has run a marathon in 2:35.