“I enjoyed having four different backgrounds and stories about athletics.It really gives non-collegiate athletes, a better understanding of what college athletes have to endure and what it’s like to be an athlete.”
- Caleigh Hines
“I thought the panel did really well. They presented their vast athletic knowledge through serious discussion, personal experience, and friendly jesting with other members of the panel.”
- Avery Hurst
The Role of Intercollegiate Athletics on Campus: Past, Present, and the Future
Mike Collins, Ph.D.
Head Cross-Country/ Track & Field Coach
Lewis-Clark State College
About Coach Collins:
When Mike Collins started coaching at Lewis-Clark State he thought it would be a short-term engagement. Little did he know that he would fall in love with coaching and the student-athletes in his charge. Now entering his 20th season with the Warriors he has taken this short-term project and helped to turn it into one of the premier running programs in the country.
In the past 19 years Collins’ teams have produced six NAIA National Champions, 57 All-Americans, 12 conference Runner-of-the-Year winners, one Region I Runner-of-the-Year and champion, and numerous all-conference and all-region selections. Additionally, the Education Division’s Student of the Year has been a cross country runner four times (2001, 2003, 2008 and 2010) and in 2009 the President’s award that goes to the outstanding graduate was awarded to a cross country runner (Rosa Bautista). Additionally, his teams are always amongst the best in team GPA and academic accomplishments.
Coach Collins earned Frontier Conference Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year honors for the third consecutive year in 2009 and added the Men's Coach of the Year honor again in 2010 and 2011. He also swept both awards in 2013 and 2014 before adding another Men’s Coach of the Year award in 2015.
For the past 14 years the women’s cross country team has placed in the top-25 at nationals each year, finishing (chronologically) 15th, ninth, 19th, 17th, 19th, 21st, 19th, 14th, 15th 18th, 11th, eighth, fourth, second in 2014 -their best finish ever – and 16th in 2015. A full men’s team qualified for nationals for the first time in 2003 and finished 23rd. The men’s squad has also competed at nationals in each of the past 10 years, finishing 21st, 18th, 22nd, 22nd, 19th, fourth and 15th before returning to the top 10 with a ninth-place finish in 2013 behind Sam Atkin's national runner-up performance. The men made it three straight top-10 finishes taking 10th in 2014 and sixth last season.
Collins works hard to stay on top of the current research, science and methods in regards to coaching his runners. He has a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Utah and a Ph.D. in Sport Science from the University of Idaho. All of his research at both schools dealt with improving the performances of endurance athletes. He is also a USATF Certified Level II coach with a specialization in endurance and is working towards his Level III. Although Collins works hard to stay on top of the latest in the sport, he is a big believer in the heart and work ethic of his athletes. No matter what they may or may not have been “gifted” with, if they are willing to work hard, they will get faster.
He is also the director of the Clearwater River Running Camp, the largest distance running camp in the state of Idaho.
He is also a part of the leadership within the sport of running, serving as President for the NAIA Cross Country Coaches Association and has been a national rater for the past 10 years as well as a member of many coaching committees. This leadership also extends into his other campus work where he is a member of the Lewis-Clark State College Faculty Senate, a committee member on the athletic advisory board and other campus groups.
In 2014, Collins was elected to the Lewiston City Council, where he will serve until 2018.
In his spare time Collins enjoys fly fishing, running, doing triathlons and spending time with his family. His wife Tracy is the head athletic trainer at Lewis-Clark State and assists with the team. His two daughters (Kassie – 15 and Emily – 12) provide a great deal of fun and have already indicated that they want to run for daddy some day and be a “country kid.”
From an athletic standpoint, Collins has qualified for the USA Triathlon National Championships eight times and completed his first Ironman Triathlon (2.4m swim, 112m bike, 26.2m run) in 2005, finishing in 11:06.24 after cramping up 13 miles into the run. He also completed Ironman competitions in 2009 and 2012. Collins also believes that he should be willing to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. In addition to the triathlons, he runs on a daily basis and pushes himself to stay fit. Although he doesn’t run at the same level of his athletes, he works to be a good example of what it means to be committed to your sport, to work and train hard to be better.
-Bio and Photo courtesy of LCSC Athletics