Three coaches formerly of ASU join Speir's staff at WCU
Chris Collins, a former four-year letter winner for the Catamount football team, returned to his alma mater and rejoined the Western Carolina football coaching staff in March, 2016. Collins, who played for the Purple & Gold from 2006-09 and began his coaching career as a student assistant in 2010, will coach WCU's linebackers.
Collins returns to Cullowhee after spending the 2015 season on the sidelines at Appalachian State as a graduate assistant, working with the Mountaineers' defense. ASU finished 2015 with an 11-2 overall record, tallying its first-ever bowl victory with a 31-29, come-from-behind victory over Ohio in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl.
The Mountaineer defense ranked first in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 19.1 points and 314.5 yards per game in 2015. App State recorded 18 interceptions and six fumble recoveries in 13 seasonal games while also posting a Sun Belt-leading 36 sacks. Collins coached honorable mention All-Sun Belt conference selection in outside linebacker, Devin Stringer.
Prior to making the move to Boone, N.C., Collins spent two seasons (2013-14) as a secondary coach and special teams coordinator at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C., working under head coach -- and former WCU defensive coordinator -- Curtis Walker. In his first season with the NCAA Division II program, Collins coached All-American defensive back L.J. McCray, who went on to sign a free-agent contract with the San Francisco 49ers and appeared in 14 games as a rookie in 2014. He also mentored former All- South Atlantic Conference selection, Mark McDaniel, who finished second in the league with five interceptions with one returned for a TD in 2014.
In addition to his on-field coaching duties, Collins also served as Catawba's academic coordinator during his two-year stint. In 2015, he attended the NFL -- NCAA Coach Academy.
Collins originally joined the Western Carolina coaching staff as a Defensive Assistant prior to the spring drills in 2011 after spending the previous year as a student assistant. He initially worked with the linebackers and the secondary, positions which he played for the Catamounts during his collegiate career. During his time, Collins worked with all-conference linebacker selection, Rock Williams.
Originally from High Point, N.C., Collins closed his WCU playing career by being named All-Southern Conference by the voting members of the SoCon Sports Media Association (SCSMA) as a senior after tallying a career-high 109 tackles including 63 solo stops. He added 12.5 tackles for loss playing the "hybrid" linebacker position in WCU's 4-2-5 scheme.
Through 44 career games, Collins finished with 303 career hits including 166 solo tackles and 19 tackles for a combined 93 yards in losses. A ball-hawk, he closed his career with nine forced fumbles with a SoCon-leading six coming during his junior season. He was also credited with five pass break-ups.
A three-time selection to the SoCon's academic honor roll and a 2007 Fall Academic All-SoCon team honoree, Collins is a 2010 graduate of Western Carolina University with a B.S. in construction management with a minor in business administration. He is engaged to Ms. Kiara Crutchfield of Charlotte, N.C.