Saginaw Valley State University football coach Jim Collins is entering his 11th season at the helm of the Cardinal program in 2018.
In his eleven seasons, Collins has led the Cardinals to the NCAA Division II playoffs three times (2009, 2011, and 2013) and won a share of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division Championship in both his 2011 and 2012 seasons, winning the North outright this past season (2013). In his tenure at SVSU, Collins has coached an All-American at the Linebacker position, an All-American at the Receiver position, safety position and three Academic All Americans. In addition, Collins has coached the GLIAC Player of the Year, the two-time GLIAC Offensive Back of the Year, two Defensive Back of the Year and GLIAC Freshman of the Year. Collins has also had over 100 of his athletes attain status on the All-Academic team.
In the 2017 season, Saginaw Valley had an overall record of 5-6. Chad Gailliard earned Honorable Mention All-American, All-Super Region Three, GLIAC Freshman of the Year, and First-Team All-GLIAC honors as well as leading the league in receiving yards at wide receiver. Five Cardinals earned their spot on the Second-Team All-GLIAC Team including: Tommy Scott Jr., Christian Porter, Ryan Verhelst, Michael Alexander, and Bryan Jones. An additional six SVSU football student-athletes earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honors including: Ryan Conklin, Jack Jennings, Zack Hadorn, Tyler Marcus, Justin Whitted, and Trevor Curle.
In the 2016 season, the Cardinals posted an overall record of 5-5, finishing 7th in the GLIAC. Senior Matt McKoy earned Second-Team All-American, All-Super Region Four, First-Team AP Little All-American, AFCA Second-Team All-American, GLIAC Defensive Back of the Year, and First-Team All-GLIAC honors. Junior Bryan Jones also earned Second-Team All-GLIAC honors for the second year in a row as starting linebacker. Six other SVSU football student-athletes earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honors including: Joe Craven, David Nay, Alfonso Vultaggio, Dillon Dixon, Alex Kenrick and Marvin White.
In the 2015 season, Saginaw Valley had an overall record of 1-10. Sophomore linebacker Bryan Jones earned All-GLIAC Second Team. Six other SVSU football student-athletes earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honors including: Andrew Courtemanche, Will Farr, Jack Jennings, Marq Johnson, Jordan Sanders and Dwight Trammer.
In 2014, the Cardinals posted a 2-9 overall record with a team that was very young and dealt with many injuries. Six Cardinals earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honors in Murtada Jabbie, Will Schwarz, and Bryan Jones on the defensive side and Logan Hauserman, Jesse Somsel and Bryan Fobbs offensively.
He and the Cardinals made it back to the NCAA Playoffs for a third time in six seasons in the 2013 season. The team finished with an overall record of 9-3. In his fifth season Collins led his team to an 8-3 record overall, just missing the playoffs. In 2011 while in his fourth season as head coach, Collins led the Cardinals back to the playoffs, finishing the season with a 7-4 overall record. In his third season the Cardinals went through a transition period and ended the season with a 4-7 record overall. In his second season he helped lead the Cardinals back to the post-season with a 9-3 record for the first time in five years, placing the Cardinals 19th in the nation. In his first season on the sidelines for the Cardinals he helped return Saginaw Valley State University back towards the top of the GLIAC standings with a 7-3 record.
Collins came to SVSU from Capital University (Ohio), where his teams compiled a record of 44-13 over his last five seasons and reached the NCAA Division III playoffs each of the past three years. In his 11 seasons at the helm of Capital University, turning around a football program that had not enjoyed a winning season since 1991 prior to a 7-3 finish by the Crusaders under Collins in 2001. He finished with an overall record of 66-51, setting school marks for victories in 2005 (10) and again in 2006 (11), and concluded the 2005-07 seasons ranked 5th, 3rd, and 15th nationally. His teams were eliminated from the playoffs by the eventual national champion each time.
Known for his innovative offensive mind, Collins has a tremendous reputation in the state of Ohio. He was named the Ohio Athletic Conference Coach of the Year three times (2001, 2003 and 2006). He also won awards as the American Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2005, the Football Gazette North Region Coach of the Year in 2006, and the Lee Tressel Ohio College Coach of the Year in 2006.
At Capital, Collins coached 13 All-Americans and two Academic All-Americans. His players also have fared well in the classroom, with more than 50 percent of them recording a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Collins has ties to the state of Michigan, having served as a graduate assistant at Central Michigan University from 1989 to 1990. In 1991, Collins took over as the offensive coordinator at Illinois Wesleyan University, where he helped lead the team to its first ever birth in the NCAA playoffs. From there, Collins took his first head-coaching job at the University of Dubuque (Iowa), where he coached from 1994 to 1996 before taking over at Capital.
During his stops, Collins has shown a versatile offense. At Illinois Wesleyan, Collins directed the best rushing offense in school history in 1991, and then led the best passing offense in school history the following year. During his tenure at Capital, Collins’ teams set more than 40 school records, including most points scored, passing yards, total yards and touchdowns during the 2006 season when the Crusaders went 11-2 and finished third nationally in the D3football.com final poll.
Collins also has gained respect off the field, having been a member of the American Football Coaches Association Coaches Council as well as serving as the North Region chair of the NCAA Division III National Football Committee. He is also on the Division II All-American Selection Committee as well as the AFCA Rules Committee. He played his college football at Wittenberg University where he was a four-year letter winner, three-year starter, and earned honorable mention All-American honors his senior year as a wide receiver.
Collins resides in Saginaw with his wife, Brooke, and three sons: Zach, Ryan, and Brady.