Mike Collins, formerly assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at McNeese State, is joining the Sam Houston State football staff Bearkat director of athletics Bobby Williams and head coach Willie Fritz have announced.

Collins served two stints with McNeese State. As an assistant to Bobby Keasler from 1991 to 1997, he coached linebackers as McNeese won four Southland Conference titles and played in the NCAA Division I national championship game in 1997.

“Mike Collins will be a super fit for us here at Sam Houston,” Fritz said. “I’ve known Mike a long time. He runs a similar defensive structure to what we have been doing here. We’re fortunate to get Mike at Sam Houston.”

Rejoining the Cowboy staff in 2008, he served as defensive coordinator and secondary coach. The 2009 Cowboys were Southland co-champions and league runner-up in 2010.

While at McNeese, Collins coached six All-America selections as well as the Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year three times.

 “This is a great opportunity. I’m excited to be a Bearkat,” Collins said. “What interested me most about the position was the outstanding job Coach Fritz has done here at Sam Houston. I appreciate the way the team has played with such discipline. I’ve also seen the support the university administration has given the program. Sam Houston obviously is committed to success in athletics. I am thankful for the opportunity they have given me.”

Collins got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Louisiana-Monroe in 1983-84. From there, he served as an assistant coach at Ouachita Parish High School before joining the staff at McNeese State in 1991.

He left McNeese after the 1997 season to work at his alma mater, Louisiana-Monroe, where he coached for five years. Collins first served as linebacker coach in 1998 and then as the defensive coordinator for three years. He took over as interim head coach at Louisiana-Monroe three games into the 2002 season before being named the teams' permanent head coach on Nov. 20 of that year.

In 2003, Collins spent a season as an intern on the national championship staff of Nick Saban at LSU. He then joined the Tiger staff full-time in March of 2004 as LSU's linebackers coach. In 2005 he moved to Northwestern State as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. In 2007 he served as linebacker coach at Kilgore High School before returning for his second stint in Lake Charles with the Cowboys in 2008.

Collins is a 1983 graduate of Louisiana-Monroe, where he lettered for four years as a center in football. He earned his master's degree from Louisiana-Monroe in 1984.

He is married to the former Terri Brinson and the couple has two children, John Michael and Matt. His father, Pat Collins, coached Louisiana-Monroe to a national title.

The Collins File

Birthdate: December 13, 1960

High School: Ruston High ‘79

College: UL-Monroe ‘83; Masters ‘84

High School Athletics: football, basketball, tennis letters; all-district LB and guard in football

College Athletics: four year letterman at UL-Monroe as center

Coaching Career: def. coordinator Ouachita High ‘85-90; assistant coach McNeese State ‘91-97; LB coach, def. coordinator ULM ‘98-02; head coach ULM ‘02-03; strength/conditioning LSU ‘03-04; linebacker coach LSU ‘04-05; def. coordinator/assistant head coach Northwestern State ‘05-06; LB coach Kilgore High ‘07; assistant head coach, defensive coordinator McNeese 2008-2013

Married: wife is Terri

Children: John Michael (coach at Alexandria, La.) and Matt (assistant baseball coach at McNeese)