Having a dream and wanting to pursue it is what everyone hopes to accomplish, and that is what Craig Coles has done with his life. He has dedicated his life in creating G.O.A.L., a high-performance training facility for top end athletes. G.O.A.L. works with pro, NCAA, high school, and youth athletes, working with them on fundamentals, decreasing inefficient movement, and injury. G.O.A.L. is 17,000 square feet of training space, indoor field & speed track, state-of-the-art equipment, electronic speed testing platforms, racks, and more, with professionally certified training staff. They work on fundamentals, strength, endurance, and conditioning. Coles states, “To every negative and positive in my life, from every tragedy and triumph, I appreciate all it has done for me, because that is what has brought me to where I am today”.
Craig Coles was born and lived his early life in Philadelphia. His father dropped out of school in the eighth grade, and his mother did not finish high school. However, his parents were driven to work at their highest potential to provide for their family while living in a low income area. Coles said that this has had a major impact on him and gave him motivation for himself. In Philadelphia, Coles said that he lived in an area where “If you didn’t stand out, someone would take advantage of you,” and this mentality from Philadelphia was different than in Richmond, where Coles eventually moved. Coles attended Mills E. Godwin High School, where he was one of only a few African Americans at the time. Wanting to be back in the streets of Philadelphia, Coles only did what would get him through high school.
While at Godwin, Coles played on the football team and was a star running back for the school. Understanding the skills and abilities that he had with athletics, he never had the work ethic to excel in sports and education while in high school. Coles said that he “didn’t value life,” taking what was given to him for granted and only thinking and doing how he wanted it to be. After high school, Coles attended college at Norfolk State to play football. Although being an exceptional football player, Coles did not put in the work ethic and time to have the starting position that he thought he deserved, despite being “a 2,000 yard, 14 interceptions, plus 22 touchdowns in a season running back.” Coles soon dropped out of college from “not having the right elements to get where I needed to be.”
Attending community college at J. Sargeant Reynolds, Coles studied business and later dropped out, leading him into sales, allowing him to grow from his past. During this time Coles developed cancer, only having a 20% chance of living. When his doctor told him this, Coles said, “I’m sorry, doctor but we will no longer be needing your service anymore… Those are someone else’s stats, not mine.”
Personally, while working with him, this story has always been one that I have admired Coach Coles for, with his determination and confidence in his self-being that I have never seen in anyone else before. While working in sales, Coles never quite “got that football out of my system,” and that’s what has brought him to where he is today with G.O.A.L.
“The adversity that I went through I wouldn’t of known who I am, I wouldn’t know how to be hard or soft at times in business… I have had control of my life the whole time, but I took that for granted and know I am here to help others.” The life that Coles went through is what brought him to what he has created today in helping athletes succeed.
“Success is what you can do and what you try to do… thought is the energy and soon that energy turns into matter”. Coles had shared this belief with all of his athletes at his facility. From his past until now, Coles has always believed in his self-being and never gave up, even in his most tragic times.
His journey does not stop here, though. Coles wants G.O.A.L. be a household name and branch his facility into North Carolina. When I asked Coles how big he wanted to branch out his facility, he said, “Seven, it’s always been my lucky number… Maybe because G is the seventh letter in the alphabet, and I believe I can do godly things.” Having relationships with his clients has always been a major aspect of Coles’ business, and he never wants to lose those one-on-one relationships.
Craig Coles has dedicated his life to athletics, and with his confidence in himself it has brought him to where he is today in helping others fulfill their dream of excelling in their sport. But, from what I have taken from working with Coach Coles is that he does not just train you for the next season. He takes you through a journey, and in the end you have a different mindset that what you walked in with, the mindset of wanting to succeed above the masses.
All images by Ginx Williams.