Ryan Rutt, Sports Writer

When the Bloomsburg University baseball team captured their first PSAC Championship in 53 years in 2019, they couldn’t dogpile on the field due to rainy conditions. Head Coach Mike Collins didn’t sweat it, knowing they would get another chance next season. After leading the team to a second consecutive PSAC title on the road at Seton Hall in 2021, the dogpile was twice as nice.

This moment is just a microcosm of Collins’ legendary coaching legacy.



Before his coaching career took off, Collins played division-I at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in politics in 1996. After an injury sidelined him for his senior season, Collins contemplated a transition to coaching.

“I didn’t know exactly how to do that,” Collins admitted. However, after talking with his coaches and networking with other mentors across the state, Collins found work as a part-time assistant coach at Keystone College. After a year, the head coach job opened up, and Collins became the part-time skipper. “I gave that $3,000 job the same enthusiasm as if they were giving me $1,000,” Collins said.

His enthusiasm showed. Collins led Keystone teams to an overall 90-75 record. His 2001 team won a school-record of 18 consecutive games en route to a 28-12 record and runner-up finish in Region 19. In 2000 and 2001, Collins-coached teams that went on to earn pre-season national rankings, and he produced 11 all-region and two All-American players during his tenure at Keystone.

After his tenure at Keystone, Collins spent four years as a top assistant at Binghamton University. Collins’ experiences as a player helped him become a top recruiter for the team. Under Collins’ guidance, the team earned a berth in the America East playoffs in just their fourth season of Division One competition.



Coach Collins’ winning ways have been contagious throughout his career, but things did not start that way with the Huskies.

Collins’ big break came in 2005 when the head coaching position opened up at BU. The program’s then-winningest head coach Matt Haney walked away after 15 seasons. Haney’s historic tenure ended with a slew of sub .500 seasons. Collins inherited a team that finished 18-25 the previous season.

“It was a bit of a transitional phase,” Collins said. “We had to take our lumps for a few years while we ramped up recruitment, as we were losing kids to other PSAC schools.”

Collins turned early losses into learning lessons for the future. “You can learn a lot from losing on the field and in recruiting,” Collins said. “We had to figure out what styles of play fit us, and how we were going to recruit. I learned to be uncompromising.”

Collins dedicated a ton of time to recruitment, showing prospects the campus and everything the program had to offer, practices he still uses to this day.

After a few seasons, Collins’ recruiting work paid off. Bloomsburg finished third in the Eastern Division in 2011 with a record of 11-13, earning its first postseason appearance in 13 years. Bloomsburg went 2-2 in the PSAC tournament, earning the program’s first postseason

wins since advancing to the D-II National Championship round in 1995. The Huskies beat nationally-ranked Millersville and regionally-ranked East Stroudsburg, Kutztown and Mansfield. “2011 was huge for us,” Collins said. “To get over the hump and beat teams like Millersville and Mansfield, that was a big moment for this program.”

In 2012, Bloomsburg’s 25 wins was the most since 1999 and their 12-12 mark in the PSAC East snapped a 14 year streak of below .500 conference records.

Collins led the Huskies to another PSAC appearance in 2014 and was named the PSAC East Coach of the Year for a second time.

In 2018, the Huskies went 31-20 including a 17-11 mark in the PSAC. Collins was named the PSAC East Coach of the Year for the third time in his career and led the Huskies to their second trip to the NCAA tournament in program history, securing the No. 4 seed in the Atlantic Regional. Collins was also named the NCBWA Regional Coach of the Year.

The following year, Collins guided the Huskies to a 35-16 overall record and coached the team to the program’s first PSAC Championship since 1965. Bloomsburg went a perfect 3-0 during the conference tournament with wins over Mercyhurst, Millersville, and West Chester. Collins eclipsed 300 career wins at BU during the 2019 campaign.

In 2021, Collins guided the Huskies to their second-straight PSAC Championship off a 24-18 record. “It was an incredible journey to get to that point from where the program was when I started,” Collins said.

The Huskies’ have gone 124-74-1 over the last four seasons.

Collins’ holds the record for most career wins in program history with 363 wins. He is a three-time PSAC East Coach of the Year, a two-time PSAC Champion, and an National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Atlantic Region Coach of the Year.



Despite the wins and accomplishments, the biggest impact of Collins’ legacy may come from the relationships he’s built with players over the years. “All the relationships I’ve had with guys over the years are very important,” Collins said. “It’s the greatest part of my job, to be a part of their experience.”

Collins has coached multiple all-conference selections during his tenure. He mentored 2017 graduate Tyler Benson and 2018 grad Austin Edgette who were drafted into the MLB.

For Collins, winning off the field is just as important.

Collins utilizes campus resources to impact his players off the field. His “four year plan” involves making sure his players are fully engaged on campus and in the community, whether its in educational sessions, getting in the womens’ center, or sexual assault awareness education. Collins established an alumni network to help players once they move into their professional careers after college.

“We’re trying to shape them so they’re prepared as professionals, but also community leaders,” Collins said.

One of the many players impacted by Collins is Senior Ben Newbert. “He’s always trying to get the best out of you, on and off the field,” Newbert said, adding, “You know he truly wants to see his guys succeed, he’s always offering support.”

Redshirt senior Kyle OFier added, “Coach Collins means a lot to this team and program. He’s been a great mentor for the last five years; he’s so knowledgeable in the game and in life, he helped me develop into the player and man I am today.”


Collins also oversaw renovations at Danny Litwhiler field, which included new dugouts, a brick backstop, elevated seating behind home plate, a warning track and walkways. He helps run BU baseball summer camps for youth. “It’s fun to see the young kids interact with our players, they’re just mesmerized,” Collins said. “I think those experiences are important.”

“Coach Collins has been a big part of this program for the last 17 years,” Athletic Director McFarland said. “He brings a winning, enthusiastic attitude and has been fantastic in numerous areas.”

Coach Collins’ legacy may not have started at BU, but his impact on the program is without question. His high baseball IQ and enthusiasm for the game helped bring high-end talent to the team, resulting in two PSAC Championships and a record 363 wins. He has created hundreds of lasting relationships with players over these 17 years, and his passion for molding leaders off the field has created a positive culture that will impact more lives than he’ll ever know.