EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - When SIUE baseball takes the field for the 2013 season, it will do so without Gary "Bo" Collins, for the first time in 34 years. Gary Collins is moving from the dugout to the pitcher's mound, metaphorically speaking. Collins will be "pitching" SIUE friends, donors, and alumni on the merits of supporting the NCAA Division I athletics program as he assumes the duties of SIUE's first solely‑dedicated director of development for Intercollegiate Athletics.
Collins has successfully led SIUE into the Division I era, guiding the Cougars to 28 wins in 2011 and 27 in 2012. The Cougars would have qualified for the Ohio Valley Conference tournament each of the last two years if the program was eligible. During their time at NCAA Division II, Collins led the Cougars to 14 Regional appearances and five College World Series appearances.
In this new role, Collins will have a broader impact on both the baseball program and the athletics program as he builds a comprehensive development and fund-raising program for Intercollegiate Athletics. Beginning this month, Collins will relinquish his coaching duties and will move to University Relations to begin orientation in his new role. Collins is expected to be delivering "pitches" in early fall.
Building traditions is not a new concept to Collins. He has been a part of the Cougar Athletics' family for the better part of the last 44 years. In addition to 34 years as head baseball coach, he has been a two-sport athlete, assistant coach, NCAA compliance officer, and development associate.
Fund-raising is an area in which Collins already has demonstrated success. He has been instrumental in raising more than $2 million for SIUE baseball, wrestling, and golf (combined), and he is credited with securing SIUE Athletics' first-ever seven-digit gift.
"I am excited to have Gary lead our development efforts," SIUE Director of Athletics Dr. Brad Hewitt said. "We have been very successful working together during my 22 years at SIUE. Gary has relationships with alumni and friends of Cougar Athletics that garner him instant credibility with our prospects and current donors. I am confident he will bring many of our ongoing development activities to a successful fruition."