Donnie Cole

Born: May 22, 1956 in Port Arthur, Texas

     Donnie Cole attended Prairie View A&M on a track scholarship. When a leg injury required physical therapy, Cole’s coach recommended that he try power-lifting.  In 1981 he earned a fifth-place finish in state competition. Cole went on to win the state championship at the University of Texas at Arlington campus in 1983. By 1985, he had made the move to the National Power lifting Championship level. Sponsored by the American Drug-free Power lifting Association; he finishing third in the Nationals. A year later he set an American record of 705 lbs. in the squat at the University of Texas at Austin and finished second in the Nationals.


     Shortly afterwards, Cole teamed up with Gene Rodgers to enter the two-man dead lift championships, establishing a new World Record in that event of 1,103 lbs. Unfortunately, a devastating knee injury sidelined him for almost two years. After extensive rehabilitation he returned to power-lifting with a vengeance, joining the recently-formed Natural Athletes Strength Association In 1990. Winning the N.A.S.A nationals that year, he went on to compete for the U.S. team in international competition in the Soviet Union. There he won the World Title in the 181 lb. Division, repeating the same feat the following year in Finland.


     Among his lifetime achievements are six national championships; two times as World Champion; once as Pure Athlete of the Year; twice as Male Athlete of the year; one as Master's Athlete of the Year; and one time as Overall Athlete. As recently as 1997, Donnie Cole set both the Master's American and World Records in the 198 lbs. Division, with record lifts in the squat (614 lbs.) and dead-list (705 lbs.), his combined total being 1,649 lbs.

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Museum Address: 700 Procter, Port Arthur, TX 77640

The Museum of the Gulf Coast is administered by the Port Arthur Historical Society in partnership with the City of Port Arthur.  

Hours of Operation:
Monday to Saturday

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Closed Sundays and Holidays



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Adults - $8
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Parking and Entrance on 4th Street

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