Interview: Michael Collins
Coach Michael Collins is a graduate assistant coaching the wide receivers at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. For more information about Coach Collins, send him an email or follow @CoachMCollins on twitter.
Coach; tell us a bit about yourself. How you got started and how you ended up at SWOSU.
First and foremost I am Oklahoma born and bred, so football is really all I knew growing up as a kid. As corny as this sounds, I actually found an old wishbone playbook in my schools library when I was in 3rd grade and have been drawing plays ever since (had to leave the wishbone behind though.)
I actually got my job while I was sitting out a semester when I was transferring from Langston University to Northwestern Oklahoma State University, One of my coaches from Langston had left and went to Western Heights in Oklahoma City and when he knew my situation he asked me to coach up the WR's so I could stay around the game while I was waiting to move to Alva, OK. After 2 more years of playing college ball my knees finally gave way and I ended up at the University of Central Oklahoma to finish up my degree. The same coach that got me on at Western Heights was at Oklahoma City Centennial HS and got me on as the Offensive Coordinator where I stayed for 2 seasons. After that I took a job as the WR Coach at Deer Creek High school, and it was Coach Grant Gower that actually made the call to SWOSU for me and got me the GA/WR coach position out here.
What about your personal life? Wife? Any kids?
Not yet, hopefully sometime soon though, with the low pay, and long GA hours, it's hard to find the right one under those circumstances!
What is the hardest thing about being a GA?
I would say learning when to shut your mouth. At the division 2 level we are just as much coaches as the full-time guys, we hold our own position meetings, and handle most of our positions recruiting, but when it comes to staff meetings or just a meeting with our CO-OC's, there is only so many ideas they are willing to take from a "GA." Not to say our voices aren't heard, but these guys have been doing this for years and have their own way, and a lot of stuff us young guys say seems foreign I guess.
What is the best piece of coaching advice you have ever gotten?
I was told early on to never think I have this thing figured out, while some of my ideas and schemes may be great, there is always something you can learn, never stop asking questions, and since we tell our players to get better every day, make sure I am doing the same thing.
What is the WORST piece of coaching advice you have ever gotten?
Honestly I haven't received too many pointers that I would consider bad, and I would call this un-solicited advice because I just picked up on it while I was still playing. But I have learned dog cussing guys really has no positive outcomes. I have learned how to temper the language and explain to a player right after a mistake is made, and try to make it as positive as possible.
Who do you look up to? Who has influenced you?
Mike Baldwin- He coached me in high school, college (Langston) and like I said earlier, got me my first two coaching jobs. He started calling me coach when I was just a freshman in high school, and treated me as such through the years, always made sure I knew the whole picture and not just my job. He is the main reason I treat my players the way I do, I always had a guy to call, anytime of the day or night, with anything, and I want the same for my guys.
My Dad- Even though he wasn't a coach, well outside of little league, He always told me that no matter what I wanted, if I was willing to work harder than everyone, and find the right was to network, I could achieve anything. An attitude that has served me well lately, breaking into the college ranks as a Grad Assistant was tough, but now looking toward the future, getting that first full-time gig will be even tougher, but where some people might be uneasy about that, I am just as confident as ever.
In in one sentence, describe why you coach... what is your reason for getting up every morning?
I coach because I love football, but the ability to have an impact of so many guys and their lives on and off the field makes this job one of the best in the world.