HOLLAND, Mich. — The West Ottawa football program has made an absolute home run hire in former Montague head coach and three-time state champion Pat Collins.
Collins says it was time for him to give back to a new community.
"It was time for me, professionally, to move on and do something new," Collins told FOX 17.
"I told the players this year at Montague for example, our slogan is 'Champions for Life,' so what are you going to go do to be a champion as a dad, what are you going to go to be a champion as a father and a husband? Go do bigger things than wining a state title in football; it's not about football. Then I started thinking about that myself, maybe I need to go do more things and give back to something new. I thought about it hard and realize, you know, this is my wife's alma mater."
Pat Collins has accepted the head coaching position at West Ottawa.— FOX 17 Blitz (@FOX17Blitz) April 23, 2021
“WO is a great place with great potential. I am looking for to giving back to my wife's Alma mater just as I gave to mine the last 17 years.” pic.twitter.com/gNnwHNlCo4
West Ottawa is also where Collins started his teaching career more than two decades ago and was also an assistant coach for the football program back then.
While the Panthers football program has gone 0-15 in the past two seasons, it's less about West Ottawa and more about the strength of the OK Red.
He says he's focused on getting right to work.
"When you hear things about a program specifically that are negative, it certainly is a motivator. However, I've always thought very positively of West Ottawa, so it's so much bigger than the football field of the program and just the community and the people that are involved. I'm excited just to be a part of that with this group of people and see what happens from there."
The list of OK Red coaches now includes Collins, Brent Sandee (Hudsonville), Eric Stiegel (Grandville), Brent Cummings (Rockford), Mike Farley (Grand Haven), Derek Pennington (Caledonia), Tony Kimbrough (East Kentwood) and Rob Zeitman (Jenison) - a long list of successful coaches.
And Collins says that's only motivation to get better and he's excited for that challenge.
"Just like we ask our players to get better each day, as the coaches we need to get better each day," Collins added. "I think that when you make a move like this, it's a challenge for myself and the coaches around me and all the parts because when you go to a league like that with coaches that you mentioned, you have to get better."
The Panthers will open the season against former head coach Ryan Oshnock and Northview on Aug. 27.
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