River Ridge High School’s football program is welcoming a new head coach who built a statewide reputation for success after starting his career on Cherokee County fields.
The Cherokee County School Board on Thursday night approved the hiring of Michael Collins to teach physical education at River Ridge High School and head up its football program, effective March 1. Coach Collins most recently led teams in Cobb County (2010-2018; 2005-2007) and DeKalb County (2008-2009).
“Coach Collins has a history of successfully moving teams in the right direction,” Principal Dr. Kerry P. Martin said. “We look forward to many great seasons under his leadership.”
Under Coach Collins’ leadership, Wheeler High School’s Wildcats transformed from a team with a 21-game losing streak before his arrival, to a run that included three State playoff appearances and a Top 10 state ranking in 2018. Similarly, Pebblebrook High School’s Falcons were 3-7 before Coach Collins led them to consecutive playoff berths in 2006 and 2007, including a Region championship and a second-round playoff appearance. Coach Collins also guided Chamblee High School’s Bulldogs to the State playoffs in 2008 and 2009.
A graduate of Cherokee High School, where he played football, baseball and basketball, Coach Collins began his coaching career in Cherokee County. As an assistant football coach at Cherokee High, he played a vital role on the staff that led the Warriors from 10 straight losing seasons to five playoff wins and a Region championship (2002, 2003, 2004). His coaching honors have included Region 5-AAAAAA Coach of the Year, Cobb County Coach of the Year, and the Corky Kell Coaching of Excellence Award.
His mission, Coach Collins said, “is to build young men of great character and provide each player with guidance to establish a strong foundation for the future.”
Coach Collins earned his bachelor of science degree from Bethune Cookman University in Florida; master of science in kinesiology from Georgia Southern University; and educational specialist degree in coaching pedagogy from Valdosta State University. He and his wife, LaToya, have two children: Willie, 23; and Micah, 15.