Coachman was one of four challengers who ran against incumbent Michael Johnson for Mayor in the 2008 election. Coachman advanced to a runoff with Johnnie Wyatt, editor of the Westside Courier and manager of the Fairfield Civic Center, and won a decisive victory. Among his goals as mayor was to nurture the city's relationship with Miles College in the same way that Birmingham leaned on its relationship with UAB when other industries were diminishing.
In 2011 a dispute between Coachman, who served as chair of the Fairfield Civic Center Authority, and the Fairfield City Council led to the facility shutting down. Johnnie Wyatt resigned from the center on September 21 and issued pink slips to his 16 part-time employees.
In November 2012 Coachman began presiding over meetings of the Fairfield City Council, citing state law for cities with less than 12,000 residents, noting that the city had fallen below that threshold in the 2010 census. Council President Darrell Gardner filed a legal challenge, arguing that Coachman had called the 2012 election without accounting for a change in government. Judge Eugene Verin ruled against the Mayor and ordered that Gardner should preside over Council meetings and Coachman would not vote in the council.
During Coachman's tenure, the city was hit with several major setbacks with regard to employment and city revenues, including the loss of a Wal-Mart supercenter and the closure of U.S. Steel's Fairfield Works.
On March 11, 2016 the City Council voted 4-0 in a special called meeting to disband the city's police department and seek law enforcement services from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. Then Chief Leon Davis objected that the meeting was given with little notice and had concluded before its advertised start. Coachman overruled the Council's vote on the grounds that the department was his responsibility. Nevertheless, many of the department's investigative functions were turned over to the county.
In May, Fairfield lost its BJCTA bus service over $545,000 in unpaid debts to the service. In June City Council member Gloria Matthews accused Coachman of trying to "sink" the city and ultimately to seek its annexation into Birmingham. He denied those accusations.
Coachman was hired at Miles College as an Interim Chief Diversity Officer before moving to his present position as chief of staff to the president of the college.
Coachman was one of 7 Democratic candidates who qualified for the January 2024 special election to fill the Alabama House District 55 seat left vacant by the resignation of Fred Plump. He finished sixth in that primary.
- Norris, Toraine (August 8, 2010) "Built around steel industry, Fairfield hopes Miles College can bring it second life." The Birmingham News
- Norris, Toraine (September 21, 2011) "Fairfield Civic Center closes after facility manager resigns." The Birmingham News
- Watkins, Mia (October 9, 2012) "Kenneth Coachman wins second term in Fairfield, Reasor elected councilman." The Birmingham News
- Chambers, Jesse (January 9, 2013) "Gardner presides over Fairfield city council meeting." The Birmingham News
- Phillips, Ryan (February 4, 2016) "Fairfield stands to lose $1.5M following Walmart closure." Birmingham Business Journal
- Robinson, Carol (March 11, 2016) "Fiscally strapped Fairfield votes to disband police department." The Birmingham News
- "Fairfield votes to dissolve police department; mayor plans to keep force in place." (March 11, 2016) Associated Press
- Stein, Kelsey (May 25, 2016) "Transit authority votes to stop Fairfield's bus service, saying city owes $545k." The Birmingham News
- Robinson, Ronda (June 1, 2016) "Fairfield councilor accuses mayor of 'sinking' the city." WBRC.com
- Finnie, Alex (July 26, 2016) "Fairfield mayor not seeking another term." CBS442.com
- Rocha, Alander (September 24, 2023) "House District 55 Special Election Candidates." Alabama Reflector / BirminghamWatch