Former player named SMCC Head Football Coach
Published 7:00 am Friday, December 11, 2020
Former Southwest football player and assistant coach Cliff Collins is returning to Summit as the Bears’ newly-named head football coach.
Collins, a native of Gloster, MS, spent the past four seasons as defensive coordinator at East Mississippi Community College and was the team’s defensive backs coach in 2008-16. During his two stints with the team, he helped guide them to five national titles and multiple state titles.
Expressing his thanks to “Dr. Bishop, the search committee (and the Board of Trustees) for selecting me”, Collins said he was “excited to be back home and to return to my alma mater. I want to serve the community and make sure it and (the Southwest) district comes first.” He also said he looked forward to recruiting local players.
Collins said he plans to “bring a lot of energy and excitement” to the job and “bring (the program) back to where it use to be. Our offense will be fast and explosive, the defense will be physical and tough and we will play sound in the special teams.”
Regarding the hire, Southwest president Dr. Steve Bishop said “We are pleased and excited to welcome Coach Collins as our new head football coach. There were many exceptional candidates for this position, but we feel Coach Collins is the best fit for Southwest now and for the future.”
“Coach Collins was an outstanding student-athlete and coach here,” Bishop continued, “and is a product of this area. He is well known throughout the state and has proven himself as a champion coach, recruiter and educator. I look forward to his leadership.”
Collins spent split his freshman year of 1999 with the Bears as a quarterback and wide receiver before moving to the defensive side of the ball. In the 2000 season, under head coach Ken Edenfield, he helped the team to a 9-3 record and an appearance in the MACJC championship game.
After his time with the Bears, Collins played safety and linebacker at Ole Miss and was named to the SEC Honor Roll in 2001. He began his coaching career as a student assistant for the 2002 Rebels squad that defeated Nebraska in the Independence Bowl.
After spending the 2004-05 seasons at Hinds Community College, Collins returned to Southwest as defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator in 2006-07.
Collins next moved to his initial stint at East Mississippi before spending the 2016 season at Jackson State University. He returned to East Mississippi in 2017.
Collins holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Ole Miss and a Master’s degree in Adult Continuing Education from the University of West Alabama.