Community Mourns Loss of Past McEachern Head Football Coach
Charles Collins, a Campbell High School and Auburn University alumni and former McEachern coach, was struck and killed by a car Thursday.
Editor's Note: Thank you to Ross Cavitt with WSB-TV for providing the attached photos.
Charles Collins, who coached McEachern football for six years after playing for Auburn, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Canadian Football League, died Thursday after being struck by a car.
Collins, 66, was walking across Atlanta Road about 7 p.m. near the Paces Ferry Road intersection when he was struck by a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado, Cobb police said. The driver, 25-year-old Nicholas W. Bryant of Carrolton, was not injured and is not expected to be charged.
Collins, who lived in Smyrna, was taken to Emory Adventist Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
He came to McEachern in 1976 as a history teacher and head football coach right after his tenure as a professional football player, Athletic Director Jim Dorsey said.
“I remember them talking about that, how excited the community was that they had hired someone with his background,” he said.
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Collins stepped down from coaching in 1982 and teaching in 1984, the year Dorsey became head coach after a one-season coach in between.
“He wasn’t an outstanding coach with all these tremendous records,” Dorsey said, “but what I heard people say was that he was an outstanding person who really had the ability to have an influence on those players.”
Collins’ son played football for Dorsey, and his two daughters were cheerleaders. Collins was “100 percent supportive of this school,” Dorsey said.
Collins played football for Campbell High and then four years at Auburn, Dorsey said. While he played for the Tigers he was an All-Conference defensive tackle and was named to the Academic All-SEC team in 1966-67. He continued into the pros, playing one season for the Dallas Cowboys and then the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League.
After McEachern, Collins joined the Athletes in Action Sports Ministry. NFL kicker John Kasay, who was drafted in 1991 by the Seattle Seahawks and now plays for the New Orleans Saints, writes of Collins’ influence on him:
“I found myself talking to Charles Collins, who worked with the Athletes in Action ministry in Atlanta. We hit it off right away, and then he asked me to tell him about my relationship with Jesus Christ.
“I was stuck. I didn't know what to say. I tried to talk my way around the issue, but soon it became obvious to both of us that I really didn't know Jesus in a personal way.”
Kasay says Collins helped show him that “peace, joy and lasting contentment” comes through God.
Through his involvement in Athletes in Action, Collins became the chaplain for the Atlanta Falcons, Dorsey said.
It was Collin’s upbeat and positive personality that was “always on the brighter side” that attracted people to him, he said.
Since the accident, Dorsey has been talking with teachers and coaches who knew him. Most are retired, but there are two left at McEachern from Collins’ time.
“The big loss is everybody he came in contact with, he had a real influence on, a very positive influence,” Dorsey said. “Any time something like this happens, it just makes all of us stop and realize how you just never know.”
Funeral services for Collins will be held at 1 p.m. at Smyrna First United Methodist Church with a reception following. No visitaion is planned.