It has been said that the true measure of a man is the size of his heart rather than the size of the man himself. Few people in the local sporting community epitomized that adage more than Jeff Collins. While many of his track and field colleagues towered over him, few stood taller than the diminutive coach, convenor and clinician over the years.
Collins enjoyed a nearly unheard of level of success as a high school coach. His Grant Park Pirate teams won 22 provincial championships between 1984 and 1995. They also claimed numerous city championships at the junior high level. Many of the athletes on those teams went on to enjoy success at the national and international level. Byron Goodwin, a member of Canada’s 1992 Olympic team in Barcelona, was mentored by Collins. Lisa Kresky, a two-time All-American with North Dakota State University, was another Collins protégé. He also coached Jason Chartrand, a Special Olympian who was ranked 10 in the world in the men’s 1,500 metres. Collins also managed to find time to coach eight provincial teams and served as head coach of the Canadian Special Olympics track and field team in Tunisia.
Collins’ expertise earned him a reputation as a coach’s coach. He served as head coach and clinician for the Legion Athletic Camp at the International Peace Garden for 32 years. He also taught a number of National Coaching Certification Program courses. The energetic Collins was just as busy as an administrator. He was the convenor and co-meet director of the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association’s provincial track and field championships from 1984 until 2001. He served in the same capacity for the Rodney Dangerfield Classic for 16 years.
When health problems forced him to scale back some of his commitments, they did not knock Collins out of the race. He stayed involved in a number of MHSAA programs.
b. April 29, 1949
d. March 31, 2004