Collins comes to the Archers with more than 30 years of coaching experience, including four different head coaching tenures. He began his head coaching tenure at Belleville Area College’s Granite City campus in 1984, after a one-year stint as an assistant at Washington University in St. Louis. He also held head-coaching posts at Lincoln Trail College, South Suburban College and Richard J. Daley College, where he engineered a pair of 20-win seasons.
Collins takes the reins of an STLCC program that posted a 14-16 record and lost the Region XVI title game to Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley.
Shawn Summe, STLCC’s athletics director, and Collins previously worked together at Ave Maria University, where Summe was the head baseball coach and athletic director, and Collins was the assistant basketball coach.
Part of Collins’ vision and plan is to return the Archers to national prominence, a reputation they held just over a year ago, when STLCC finished seventh nationally. Collins, who wanted to make “one more run” as a head coach, now looks to compete for a national title with STLCC.
Among his first tasks will be recruiting a roster that must replace the vast majority of its offensive and defensive production from last year. Collins has gained a reputation as a tireless recruiter, and was on a visit with potential Ave Maria recruits when he accepted the position at STLCC. He will now quickly reverse course and apply his efforts to the St. Louis recruiting scene, an area he hasn’t had to focus on since his time in Granite City during the late 1980s.
“The one thing that has not changed is that the key is to find great leaders,” Collins said of his recruiting focus. “When you have great leaders, a lot of things fall in place. Some things have changed, but having great leaders who work hard and are working toward the process of getting better, those are the kinds of people you want to bring into the program.”
Collins has a history of bringing those types of players into his programs, including Chris Whitney, the current director of player development for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. Whitney played for Collins during his eight-year run as head coach at Lincoln Trail.
“He is one of the most dedicated and hardworking coaches I have ever been around,” Whitney said of the Archers’ new coach. “He will work tirelessly to make his players better on and off the court and definitely in the classroom. He has a way of turning young boys that buy into his program, into productive young men. He has been a major constant in my life and professional career.”
Another of Collins’ former players is Terry Johnson, who currently serves as the assistant men’s basketball coach at Butler University.
“Coach Collins is the reason why I am where I am today,” Johnson said. “Coach Collins’ passion and energy he has for the game of basketball is what he instills in his players and his impact goes beyond the court.”
It’s that passionate brand of basketball that Collins expects to bring to the Archers. He looks to bring a hard-charging, disciplined approach to STLCC, aspects that have been hallmarks of Collins-coached teams in previous seasons.
“Our teams are going to play really hard, whether it’s defense or rebounding or any of those basic things. That’s something that most people would probably say,” Collins said. “I think another thing is that we’ll be unselfish. As the year moves on, players see that’s how they earn minutes—by doing what our team needs them to do. I think there’s tremendous potential here.”
Collins will arrive on campus and be introduced to STLCC staff members Monday, June 1.