Bobby Collins
Biographical details
Born (1933-10-25) October 25, 1933 (age 86)
Playing career
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
2 SWC (1982–1984)

Thurmon Lavelle "Bobby" Collins Jr. (born October 25, 1933) is a former American football coach. He served as head coach at the University of Southern Mississippi and Southern Methodist University. While at SMU, Collins saw the school's football program brought down by severe NCAA sanctions that led to the "death penalty" being applied to the program, including the cancellation of the entire 1987 season and being limited to only seven road games in 1988. However, the school opted to sit out the 1988 season as well after virtually all of the team's experienced players went elsewhere.

From 1975 to 1981, Collins coached at Southern Miss, and compiled a 48–30–2 record. In 1982, he was hired by SMU, signing a five-year deal with more than $100,000 annual salary. While at SMU, Collins compiled a 43–14–1 record. His only losing season as a coach came in 1976, when he went 3–8 at Southern MIss. From 1982 to 1984, he put together the best stretch in SMU's history, going 31–4–1.

After the season, Collins, athletic director Bob Hitch and recruiting coordinator Henry Lee Parker were interviewed by WFAA-TV's Dale Hansen regarding allegations that players were being paid. Collins denied any knowledge of the affair.[1] It later emerged that Collins knew that players were being paid, though he didn't know who they were.[2] Collins resigned shortly after WFAA aired a special report breaking the scandal, and was later given $850,000 in severance pay in return for keeping quiet about the payments.[3]

Collins was not sanctioned by the NCAA for any role in the events leading up to the "death penalty", though the final report criticized him for not providing a convincing explanation for why players were still being paid after the school assured the NCAA that the payments had stopped. Nonetheless, his reputation was ruined. While he was a finalist for the open head coach's job at Mississippi State in 1990 (which eventually went to Jackie Sherrill),[4] he has never returned to the collegiate ranks in any capacity since leaving SMU.

Head coaching recordEdit

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Southern Miss Golden Eagles (NCAA Division I / I-A independent) (1975–1981)
1975 Southern Miss 8–3
1976 Southern Miss 3–8
1977 Southern Miss 6–6
1978 Southern Miss 7–4
1979 Southern Miss 6–4–1
1980 Southern Miss 9–3 W Independence
1981 Southern Miss 9–2–1 L Tangerine 19
Southern Miss: 48–30–2
SMU Mustangs (Southwest Conference) (1982–1986)
1982 SMU 11–0–1 7–0–1 1st W Cotton 2 2
1983 SMU 10–2 7–1 2nd L Sun 11 12
1984 SMU 10–2 6–2 T–1st W Aloha 8 8
1985 SMU 6–5 5–3 5th
1986 SMU 6–5 5–3 T–4th
SMU: 43–14–1 30–9–1
Total: 91–44–3
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

Coaching treeEdit

Assistants under Collins who became college head coaches:


  1. Taafe, William. Daring to take on the home team Script error. Sports Illustrated, March 9, 1987.
  2. Sullivan, Robert; and Craig Neff. Shame on you, SMU Script error. Sports Illustrated, March 9, 1987.
  3. Wangrin, Mark. 20 years after SMU's football scandal Script error. San Antonio Express-News, March 3, 2007.
  4. Reed, William F. What Price Glory? Script error Sports Illustrated, December 24, 1990.

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