Following the 2012 baseball season, Gary Collins assumed the duties of SIUE’s first solely dedicated director of development for Intercollegiate Athletics. Collins retired from the University in February 2014.
His 2011 season proved to be a memorable one. With a 5-1 win over Eastern Kentucky in the second game of a doubleheader May 20, 2011, Collins earned his 1,000th career win, accomplishing what just 55 other NCAA Division I coaches had done previously. The Cougar alumnus has a comfortable grip on the No. 1 spot on SIUE's all-time wins list. In fact, no other coach in any other sport has more wins at SIUE than Collins does.
During their time at NCAA Division II, Collins led the Cougars to 14 Regional appearances, and five College World Series appearances. He led SIUE into its next phase as a Division I program by starting a youth movement. Three of the top five and six of the top 10 hitters in 2010 were underclassmen.
The 2010 team won 14 games and finished 9-4 at SimmonsCopper Complex. Three of the home wins came against Ohio Valley Conference opponents. The Cougars lost one of the best players in recent history with the graduation of outfielder Adam Eggemeyer. Eggemeyer, who led the 2010 team in nine offensive categories, ended his SIUE career with a .347 batting average, tied for 25th all-time. His 166 career hits was 18th all-time when he finished his career.
In 2009, SIUE won 15 games and said goodbye to another one of its star players, Josh Street. In his final game as a Cougar, Street hit a pair of home runs to finish with 15 for the year, tying the single-season school record. He finished his career with a batting average of .397 and was named first team All-Independent.
Five members of the 2008 squad were selected to All-GLVC teams, with Ben Bartley leading the group as a first team selection at third base. Street (2B), Cory Bunner (SS), Eggemeyer (OF), Daniel Thomson (OF) all were second team selections. Street and Bartley were also selected to the Rawlings/ABCA All-North Central Region second team.
The 2007 season featured Collins' 14th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. His team posted the best record in the GLVC at 26-10 during the regular season. Collins has coached five teams to the NCAA-II College World Series with a fourth-place finish in 1983, seventh place in 1985, and fifth place in 1991, 1997 and 2001.His 2006 team featured the top pitching staff in the nation, posting a national-record 21 shutouts and finishing with a 40-19-1 record. It was the fourth time SIUE has finished with 40 or more wins under Collins.
Collins' teams are no stranger to setting school and national records. His 2001 team also was the first to have two players (Mark Bugger and Chad Opel) record 100 or more hits in a season. Bugger, who was later elected to the GLVC Hall of Fame, completed his SIUE career with 356 hits, making him the Division II all-time hits leader at the time.
Collins also reveres his 1987 season. That team broke the 40-win barrier for the first time and featured several players who would move on to the professional ranks. Tony Duenas, a former assistant coach under Collins, spent three seasons in the Chicago Cubs organization. Pete Delkus, who signed with the Minnesota Twins, worked all the way up to the AAA level. John Groennert, who is the only Cougar ever to have recorded 11 victories in one season, signed with the Cincinnati Reds. Pitcher Dean Schulmeister spent some time in the Cubs organization. Catcher Daren DePew signed with the Boise Hawks. The final player to sign was P.J. Riley with the Houston Astros. Both Duenas and Delkus were named to the SIUE Athletics Hall of Fame.
Collins began his coaching career as an SIUE assistant coach to Roy E. Lee, then moved to Lewis and Clark Community College and later returned to lead SIUE baseball, becoming the first alumnus to return to become a head coach.
Collins earned a bachelor's in physical education in 1970 and a master's in counselor education in 1973, both from SIUE. He has one son, Ryan.
Career Coaching Record
Career Playing Statistics
Year Avg GP-GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB-ATT 1968.... .425 12-0 40 13 17 4 1 2 12 2 6 1-1 1969.... .357 0-0 56 5 20 3 0 2 10 4 12 1-2 TOTAL... .385 12-0 96 18 37 7 1 4 22 6 18 2-3