D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The Harrison County School Board has approved the hiring of Eric Collins as the D'Iberville Warriors new head football coach, replacing the legendary Buddy Singleton who officially retired in January.Collins was one of 50 applicants who applied for the Warriors head coaching job.
Collins says, "I'm so excited. It's a dream come true to coach in the Class 6A ranks and to take over a D'Iberville football program that's rich in tradition and it's just a great opportunity. I believe it's an honor to follow one of the all-time great high school coaches in Mississippi in Buddy Singleton."
Collins has been the head coach at Pearl River Central High School where he began coaching the Blue Devils in 2010 and posted 42 wins and 31 losses in six seasons.
Under his leadership, PRC made its to the Class 5A South State finals in 2011 and 2012 and his 2015 Blue Devils captured the Region 4-5A title, running off an 11 and 2 overall record.
Harrison County Athletic Director Bobby Trosclair says trying to find a coach to replace Buddy Singleton was no easy task.
"I believe we got the right guy in Eric Collins, "stated Trosclair. "His work ethic is exceptional and he's won every place he has coached."
Trosclair says they want to work with Pearl River Central to come up with a solution in trying to get Collins to D'Iberville was soon as possible, but in the best interest of PRC.
A few years ago I interviewed coach Collins and and told us his story on how he got started in the coaching profession.
Collins said, "I went to college to be a preacher and when that didn't work out I still wanted a way to work with kids and maybe to help people and my high school offered me a coaching job and I began to realize that coaching was a great ministry a great opportunity to maybe be a witness for Christ to the kids and that's what got me into coaching and I've been coaching ever since."
Collins says he tried to motivate his players at every stop he made.
"I started out at Archbishop Hannan where I spent six great years and spent a year at Jesuit and seven great years at Chalmette High School where I was the head coach, "stated Collins. "Right after Katrina I went to Tupelo High School in Tupelo, Mississippi and back down here. So, I've been around all over Louisiana and Mississippi."
Coach Collins has used his belief in God to influence his players to do the right thing and to never give up.
"This is all for the kids. I mean this is about helping kids to become great citizens in our society and first of all I want to see them graduate. I want to see them to go on to become fruitful citizens in our community and be able to comeback and give back to the community with what they've been given here at school."
Collins says he hopes to report to D'Iberville as quickly as possible.
"I want to evaluate the coaches on the D'Iberville staff to see who wants to stay and I will keep some of Singleton's staff and I will bring a few coaches over from Pearl River Central with me to D'Iberville, "said Collins.
Collins will take care of his staff first and will select a date for the Warriors to begin spring football.
Ever since I met coach Collins six years ago, I place him near the top in the coaching profession. What he accomplished at Pearl River Central was no easy task. He developed what had become a losing football program into one of the most respected Class 5A teams in the state. He didn't have the biggest or the fastest youngsters, but he instilled pride and motivation is a key factor, a factor that can overcome a more talented opponent.
While the Warriors coaching staff had a number of qualified coaches to step in for Singleton, I can't knock the decision by the Harrison County School Board in approving the hiring of Eric Collins.