May 19, 2024
Jim Collins

After graduating from Wittenberg in 1988, Jim Collins went to Campbell’s Soup Company and worked there for a year, and then he got into coaching and started at Central Michigan University, since then he has been the assistant or head football coach at other schools before coming back to Witt in 2021. This is his 3rd season.

Bailee Lyons: How do you fit into Witt athletics?

Jim Collins: I understand the tradition and history, the high standards, and that makes it a great fit in that aspect. The fact we have high standards here across the board whether it is academics, student conduct in general, the other part fitting into the athletic department is always striving for excellence. 

BL: How did last season go?  

JC: We finished 7-3. We had a couple tough losses that kept us out of the playoff picture. We had some great wins. We had a season with a lot of accomplishments and had players have great performances. 

BL: Who were the leaders last season? 

JC: Defensively we had Camo Snurr (senior), guys like Christian Sweet (5th year) and Anthony Pedro (Senior) stepped up big. Guys on our defensive line: Conner Walls (senior) was a leader for us. Players like Garrett Gross (senior), Bryce Anderson (senior), and Troy Tepe (senior), Max Milton (junior) are all good leaders, and I thought last year we had some good leaders across the board, we had leadership in the special team’s area from Brandon Goodwin (senior) and Jaden Sarragua (senior).  

BL: Who do you hope becomes a leader next season? 

JC: A lot of our guys are coming back — Camo Snurr, Max Milton, Troy Tepe, and Earl Pope (senior) — a lot of them are coming back, and I haven’t mentioned them all, but we are going to have great leadership, and we set the tone last year with a lot of the guys coming back and a lot of them observing the great leadership we had last year I think it will be easier for them to step up and fill their shoes.  

BL: What was the team like this season? 

JC: It was a fun team to coach. They showed a lot of heart, a lot of games we were behind and came back and ended up winning, and they showed character, they hung together. We had some great performances, it always makes it fun when you have an excellent group of people who play well together and handle adversity to get through it. I thought at the end of the year after losing to Wabash we had two tough losses in a row and a tough opponent coming up on the road it showed what we were made of by winning the last two and finishing strong. 

BL: What did practice look like? 

JC: High tempo and competitive. That is one of the reasons I enjoyed coming to practice every day it was high energy and the guys really competed hard and understood how important every practice was and I thought the goal was trying to get 1% better every day and it was a goal we were able to achieve because of the focus and energy they put into it. 

BL: Do you think what you practiced translated onto the field? 

Absolutely! The thing we had daily was that ability to go hard, and when you practice hard with great effort is a habit, and we showed up on Saturdays and played that way. 

BL: What’s your favorite part of the team? 

JC: I do not have a favorite part. I like our coaching staff, I like the people and the combination of the relationships we build with the players, the growth we go through and the competitive part. 

BL: What’s your favorite building on campus? 

JC: I really have two favorites: Weaver Chapel and Recitation Hall. Recitation is an old building and is in great shape with a lot of character. Every day I walk through there marveled at how well maintained it is. Weaver is beautiful, you can walk into it and just be comfortable and at ease. It is not as old as some of the buildings, but it has a lot of character. 

BL: What’s your favorite part about Springfield? 

JC: The community is so involved with the university. It has the best of both worlds with all the small town feel and what you have in a big city, and everyone knows each other. 

BL: What was your major while at Wittenberg? 

JC: I was a business major. 

BL: How did it feel to return to your alma mater? 

JC: It was awesome. My wife and I both went here and have so many memories and great times. To come back was a special feeling. I get flashbacks walking around and goosebumps in a way. The other thing is Wittenberg means so much to me and gave me so much as an athlete here and just the ability to give back was special. 

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