Sa­ban and O’Leary were a big in­flu­ence on new coach Collins

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - NFL - By Ken Sugiura ksug­[email protected]

Ge­off Collins has been named the suc­ces­sor to Paul John­son as Ge­or­gia Tech coach. Things you may not have known about Collins:


This is Collins’ 13th stop since grad­u­at­ing from West­ern Car­olina in 1994. The first 12:

1995: as­sis­tant coach at Franklin High School (North Car­olina); 1996: lineback­ers coach at Ford­ham; 1997-98: de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor at Al­bright Col­lege; 1999-2001: grad­u­ate as­sis­tant and then tight ends coach at Ge­or­gia Tech; 2002-05: de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor at West­ern Car­olina; 2006: direc­tor of player per­son­nel at Ge­or­gia Tech; 2007: direc­tor of player per­son­nel at Alabama; 2008-09: lineback­ers coach and re­cruit­ing co­or­di­na­tor at UCF; 2010: de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor and lineback­ers coach at FIU; 2011-14: lineback­ers coach and co-de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor, then de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor at Mis­sis­sippi State; 2015-16: de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor, Flor­ida; 2017-18: head coach, Tem­ple.

Worked for Sa­ban

Collins took plenty from his time from work­ing for coach Nick Sa­ban. Lessons he men­tioned in an in­ter­view with Sports Il­lus­trated in 2017:

“The op­po­nent and score­board don’t mat­ter. He talks about that all the time. You have to get bet­ter at what you do on a daily ba­sis, doesn’t mat­ter what your role is. Ac­cept per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity for your own self-de­ter­mi­na­tion. He says that all the time. And so ev­ery day, you come into this build­ing as a player or a coach, you have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to do your job and to ac­cept that re­spon­si­bil­ity and to be driven and mo­ti­vated to do it.”

Fa­mil­iar alma mater

Collins played col­le­giately at West­ern Car­olina as an out­side line­backer and de­fen­sive back 198992. He spent one sea­son as a stu­dent as­sis­tant in 1993 and grad­u­ated in 1994 with a de­gree in sport man­age­ment and ex­er­cise sci­ence.

An­other West­ern Car­olina grad­u­ate of note? Paul John­son (class of 1979).

Young for his age

At 47, Collins is the youngest coach since Bill Curry took the job in 1979 at 37, al­though barely. The four coaches hired im­me­di­ately be­fore him were not much older. Paul John­son was 50. Chan Gai­ley was 49. Ge­orge O’Leary was 48. Bill Lewis was 51, as was Bobby Ross.

His first job at Tech

At his in­tro­duc­tory news con­fer­ence at Tem­ple in De­cem­ber 2016, Collins paid homage to O’Leary as one of his men­tors. O’Leary hired Collins to be a grad­u­ate as­sis­tant at Tech prior to the 1999 sea­son. Collins had been de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor at Al­bright Col­lege, a Di­vi­sion III school in Read­ing, Pa.

Collins said O’Leary taught him tough­ness, work ethic and at­ten­tion to de­tail.

He told a story about how he pestered O’Leary to let him re­cruit, telling him he could do it. O’Leary gave him per­mis­sion dur­ing Collins’ sec­ond year as a GA. Collins said O’Leary told him the coach­ing staff fo­cused its at­ten­tion on six pri­mary states, and he could have the other 44.

“And I took that and I ran with it,” Collins said.

With the help of other coaches on staff, Collins said, Tech signed five play­ers in the next class from the states that had been given to him.

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