Head football coach Jim Collins resigned after 11 seasons today, Monday, Feb. 25, according to an SVSU press release.
He will be accepting a position on the football staff of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, an NCAA Division I program, it stated.
Defensive coordinator Adam Gonzaga will serve as the interim head coach.
“I would like to thank the entire SVSU community for the opportunity and support provided to me to lead the football program over the last 11 years,” Collins said in the release. “A special thanks to our administration: President Don Bachand, Jim Muladore, executive vice president, and athletic administrators John Decker and Angela Pohl for believing in the vision and purpose of our football program.”
Collins said in the release that his time at SVSU has been a “tremendous journey.”
“For 11 years our lives were fully engrossed in Cardinal Football,” Collins said. “I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been able to serve our assistant coaches, alumni, friends of the program and most importantly the outstanding student-athletes that have represented SVSU in such a tremendous way on the field and in the classroom. I am extremely appreciative of all the hard work and sacrifices that have been made by so many, and I will miss the day to day interaction with the people I have grown so close to.”
Collins said it was a “difficult decision for me and my family,” but he feels “called to play a role in a program that develops the young men who will be serving our country.”
“I am extremely enthusiastic and honored to have been offered the opportunity to join the football staff at Army West Point,” he said. “The amazing history, tradition and excellence of The United States Military Academy is well documented, and the level of success that head coach Jeff Monken, his staff and the players have been able to accomplish has been awesome. I am eager to get started and make an impact there.”
Collins took over as head coach at SVSU in 2008, the press release said. His 11 years at the helm matches George Ihler’s 11 seasons as the most by an SVSU head football coach.
He compiled an overall record of 65-56 with a 58-49 mark in GLIAC play. Under his leadership, the football program advanced to three NCAA Division II playoffs in 2009, 2011 and 2013. The football team also won three straight GLIAC North Division championships from 2011-2013. In 2018, the Cardinals finished 8-3 overall and 5-3 in the GLIAC.
Under Collins, 57 players earned All-GLIAC First Team or Second Team honors, including one GLIAC Player of the Year, one Freshman of the Year, two Defensive Backs of the Year and a two-time Offensive Back of the Year, the press release stated. Additionally, six players were named All-Americans under Collins’ leadership.
“I am excited for the future of Cardinal Football and confident that I am leaving the football program in a very good place,” Collins said. “The program is made up of high character individuals who show up every day, work hard, compete, display an awesome amount of grit and share a special bond with each other. I am extremely proud of all of them.”
Athletic Director John Decker wishes Collins the best at West Point.
“I would like to thank Coach Collins for his leadership of our football program for the past 11 years and I wish him well in his new opportunity,” Decker said. “The student-athletes in our football program have performed well in the classroom and on the field, and we expect that to continue. We have a strong team returning. We will conduct a national search to find the next head coach of Cardinal football and that process will begin immediately.”
Reporting by Kaitlyn Farley, Editor-in-Chief