Looking back with: Bimbo Coles (Part 1 of 3)

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Bimbo Coles scored 2,484 points from 1986-90 and is still Virginia Tech's career scoring leader.
Bimbo Coles scored 2,484 points from 1986-90 and is still Virginia Tech’s career scoring leader.

In Bimbo Coles’ modest office at the Greenbrier Fitness Club in Lewisburg West Virginia, there’s a plaque that sits on a window sill and leans up against the lone window in his office. It’s a plaque that was given to him when he was inducted into the Greenbrier East High School (Lewisburg, WV) Hall of Fame, and it succinctly describes a distinguished high school, college, and NBA career.

It says:

Vernell “Bimbo” Coles (Class of 1986)

Bimbo was twice named First Team All-State and earned the West Virginia Player of the Year in 1985 and 1986. Along with many other Spartan records, he broke the school record with 48 points in a game against Bluefield in 1986. A three year starter in all sports, he is the only two-time First Team All-State selection in East football history. Bimbo became only the second player in VPI history to have his basketball jersey retired in 1990 and is a member of the Virginia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame. He was a member of the United States Olympic Basketball team in 1988. He played 14 professional seasons in th NBA for several teams. He was an assistant coach with the Miami Heat during their 2006 Championship Season.

An athletic lifetime of achieving at the highest levels, summed up in just seven sentences. When I point out to him that the “e” is missing from the phrase “in the NBA,” he leans over, looks at the plaque, and says casually, “Huh. I never noticed that.”

The fact that he never noticed the typo, and that he never hung the plaque on the wall, but instead just leaned it up against a window, probably right after he carried it into his office, tells you all you need to know about Bimbo Coles: he never cared about the accolades. He never cared about the spotlight.

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