Darnell Coles was a four-sport letterman and three time baseball MVP at Eisenhower High School in Rialto, California. On June 3, 1980, Coles was drafted as the sixth pick by the Seattle Mariners in the first round of the 1980 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. He turned down both a baseball scholarship and a football scholarship to UCLA to sign with the Mariners. In 1986, he hit a career-high 20 home runs for the Detroit Tigers. He batted .245 with 75 HR and 368 RBI in 957 career games and was a member of the 1993 world champion Toronto Blue Jays.
Coles is one of only 15 players ever, including Babe Ruth, to hit three homers in a game in both the National League (1987 Pirates) and American League (1994 Blue Jays). In 2006, Coles was hired as the roving hitting instructor for the Washington Nationals organization. He was the manager of the Vermont Lake Monsters in 2007, and manager of the Class A Hagerstown Suns in 2008. By the end of that year, he was named the hitting coach for the Nationals Triple-A affiliate, the Syracuse Chiefs.
On October 10, 2013, Coles was selected to manage the Milwaukee Brewers Triple-A affiliate, the Nashville Sounds, after previously managing the organization’s Double-A Huntsville Stars from 2012 to 2013. However, on November 25, the Detroit Tigers announced the hiring of Coles as assistant hitting coach. Coles is currently the hitting coach for the Milwaukee Brewers, and has been with them since 2014.