Coffey holds a B.S from Central Michigan University and an M.S.W. from the U-M. He joined the Flint faculty in 1973 as an associate professor without tenure. He received tenure in 1974 and was appointed professor in 1977.
He served as chair of the Department of Sociology/Anthropology in 198587 and in 199091.
Having taught social work at U-M-Flint for nearly 20 years, Prof. Coffey was responsible for the development of its highly successful B.A. program in social work and the program minor in criminal justice, the Regents said. His most noted research endeavor was an extensive investigation of issues related to the death penalty in Michigan, culminating in a first-rate video entitled Trial and Error.