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Pull of alma mater too much for Collins

LORMAN — The lure of coaching at his alma mater was too much for former Alcorn State head football coach Earnest Collins to turn down.

Collins, who coached the Braves for two seasons, will be announced as the new head football coach at Northern Colorado today in a press conference.

Collins played defensive back at Northern Colorado from 1991-1994 and was an assistant coach for the Bears from 2000-2003. He was also an assistant coach at Kansas from 2003-2006, which is where current Northern Colorado athletic director Jay Hinrichs worked before coming to UNC.

Collins said in a statement that the pull of his alma mater was too much for him to ignore.

“This is a chance for me to come home to the place that made me who I am,” Collins said. “My mom and UNC made me the man I am today, so I am thankful for the opportunity to come home.”

Collins also said he relished the opportunity to return the once-proud UNC program to greatness.

“I believe every coach’s dream is to come back and coach at his alma mater and win championships at his alma mater. I can’t wait to get started and see what we can accomplish. I know we can do some great things at UNC.”

Northern Colorado is a former football power, winning Division II national championships in 1996 and 1997.

However, the Bears have fallen on hard times since moving up to the Division I championship subdivision.

Former coach Scott Downing was fired on Nov. 16 after amassing a 9-47 record in five years.

The job was initially offered to Mullen High School coach Dave Logan, but he turned it down, allowing the university to then offer the job to Collins.

Collins might be taking a pay cut to come back to his alma mater. He recently signed a three-year contract at Alcorn State for $140,000 per year. Downing made $95,000 in his final year at Northern Colorado.

Alcorn State sports information director Gus Howard said he planned to meet with interim ASU president Norris Edney either Wednesday night or this morning to discuss the Braves’ coaching search, and couldn’t comment until the meeting took place.