3-time state champion coach Pat Collins de Montague says now is the time to step down

MONTAGUE – Pat Collins has described coaching his alma mater to another state football title with his son starting quarterback his best chapter in 17 years at the helm of Montague.

Collins said his storybook wasn’t complete, but it was time for someone else to write some history. Collins, 46, told MLive on Friday he was stepping down as the wildcats’ highly successful head coach. He intends to continue coaching to some extent at another school, wherever opportunity and form permit.

“I can’t really describe the feeling. It’s just that you can’t write it better. I feel so lucky. A lot of people are like, “You asshole, how did you get so lucky?” But that’s how I feel, ”said Collins, who amassed a 159-45 overall record with Division 6 state titles in 2008, 2009 and 2020, plus another state final appearance. in 2018.

Montague head football coach Pat Collins coaches his team against Muskegon Catholic Central during the Division 6 District Championship at Muskegon Catholic Central on Friday November 13, 2020 (Cory Morse | MLive.com)Cory Morse | MLive.com

Collins’ teams at Montague have qualified for the playoffs 16 times. Under his leadership, the Wildcats won 12 district championships, seven regional titles and six crowns in the always tough West Michigan Conference. In week 1 of the 2019 season, he was Named Detroit Lions High School Coach of the Week.

The 1993 Montague High School alum failed to win a state title as a starting QB in season 92. In the Wildcats’ very first appearance in the state finals, Collins & Co. lost a 12-7 crush against Detroit St. Martin dePorres at the Pontiac Silverdome. Collins played for Ken Diamond, who also spent 18 seasons coaching Montague.

“He did an amazing job building on the legacy Ken Diamond really has for us. I think Ken was really like the cornerstone and then Pat came in in 2004 and then took us to a whole new level and really raised the expectations for Montague football and upped our game and the way we do things. Said athletic Montague. Principal Jay Mulder, who added that the school administration will seek to post the vacant position as soon as possible.

Collins, who played football at Hope College, returned to his alma mater with “unfinished business” in mind. He was determined to guide Montague to the state title he was unable to earn as a player.

Collins has done it three times, the most recent being extra-special with his son Drew Collins running the show at QB. Father and son were able to leave Ford Field to have fulfilled a dream together.

Pat and Drew Collins, father and son of Montague football

Montague football coach Pat Collins and son Drew walk side-by-side as they enter the Ford Field tunnel after the Wildcats won the Division 6 state titles in the 2009 and 2020 seasons (Photo left courtesy of Cory Morse; photo right courtesy Kate Feuerstein)

“I never thought in a million years that this was how it was going to be,” said Pat Collins.

The 2020 season was unlike any other, just in terms of the coronavirus pandemic and the roller coaster that followed with starts and stops. By the time the Wildcats hoisted the state title trophy after a 40-14 win over Clinton, it was Jan. 22, 2021.

Resigning was not an easy decision for Collins, but he had been thinking about it for a while and a recent getaway to Florida allowed him to process his thoughts without distraction. He believes he still has a lot to offer as a coach and looks forward to making an impact in another role elsewhere.

Collins’ real passion is working with young people as an educator. He will retain his positions at Montague as Director of K-12 Student Services and Dean of High School Students. Previously, Collins was also athletic director.

“What I did there (in Florida), honestly… I don’t want to go out at sunset. And, honestly, I’m finding that I’m motivated by growth, ”he said. “Growth is like watching a coach grow on my team – I love that. I want to be there and I can’t wait until next season to see what he can do, or watch a kid grow and develop, so I’m motivated to grow.

“I’m just ready for new goals, personal and professional. That’s what I sort of identified there. It was a storybook and it was great, but it wasn’t about “What a great way to end, to close the book.” Now I am going to relax. ”

Pat and Drew Collins of Montague Football

Montague head football coach Pat Collins and his son, senior quarterback Drew Collins, are pictured in Montague on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 (Cory Morse | MLive.com)Cory Morse | MLive.com

Collins had previously explored coaching jobs elsewhere during his time at Montague, but with his son going through the school system and the football program, he wanted to make it happen.

This season, Drew Collins was named Associated Press Player of the Year and Pat Collins was named AP Coach of the Year in Divisions 5-6. Drew Collins also fulfilled a dream of playing college football after signing with Michigan Tech.

The Wildcats were 12-0 and beat their opponents by a combined 574-114 in the slightly shortened 2020 season.

Pat Collins could see something special brewing with this group many years earlier.

“I realized I had guys, including my son, who were rooting here. They were bleeding a bruise, man, and they wanted it. They wanted to experience what (the 2008 and 2009 teams) did, ”Collins said.

“I had groups that came and knocked on the door and I was completely behind these kids. I loved watching their growth and passion and it motivated me again. I held on and (thought), ‘I appreciate that, let’s do another race,’ and we did. And so it was as satisfying as this first round.

Collins returned to Montague with a mission: to sort out unfinished business.

Mission accomplished. It’s time for the next mission in his coaching journey.

“It was great to see how that vision took effect and how everyone followed it, and then we all came with a common goal of completing this unfinished business and we did it,” a- he declared. “It was so much fun. I mean, you can keep doing that, really, but to me it was like, ‘Selflessly, it’s about time someone else had the opportunity to do it. make.

“I still love coaching. I can’t wait for the next adventure, honestly. I look forward to my next adventure and what I can offer. I work for children – that’s what I work for. “

More coverage:

Montague father, son seek the end of the storybook

Montague’s father and son take top footballing honors of any state

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