|SPRINGFIELD, Missouri, April 17. DAVE Collins, who has been associated with the Missouri State University swimming & diving program since 2007, has been chosen to take over as head swimming & diving coach, director of athletics Kyle Moats announced Monday (April 16).
Collins served as associate head coach from 2008-11 and was named interim head coach after 29-year head coach Jack Steck retired in December. He becomes just the fifth head coach in program history, joining Dale Williams (1965-79), Barry Hartwyk (1979-82), Kent Kirchner (1982-83) and Steck (1983-2011). Under Collins' direction as interim head coach, the women's team won its fifth-consecutive Missouri Valley Conference championship in February and recorded the second largest margin of victory in MSU history.
Moats said that the selection committee conducted a national search with many qualified candidates and it was Collins that emerged as the top choice.
"We're excited to have Dave continue the longstanding tradition of Missouri State swimming & diving," said Moats. "He showed us this year that he is fully capable of taking this program to new heights. He has tremendous support from the team and alumni, which is very important to me. He understands our culture, and we look forward to having him permanently as our head coach."
As associate head coach, Collins coached primarily the stroke groups (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke). Since his arrival at MSU, the Bears have broken all but one of the men's and women's school records in the non-freestyle events.
In addition to his coaching duties, he has led the recruiting efforts for the Bears. This fall, Collins signed Missouri State's first top-50 recruit, bringing in Uvis Kalnins from Latvia. CollegeSwimming.com lists him as the No. 36 overall swimmer in the class of 2012.
"I'm so excited because Missouri State is such a special place and has been so good to me," said Collins. "I am so appreciative of the administration that they feel confident in me becoming the head coach. The tradition here is great and I look forward to continuing that momentum, continuing the tradition of winning and being successful in the classroom."
While coaching at Missouri State, Collins has also served as the head coach of the Missouri State Aquatics club team, where he has developed numerous Missouri Valley top-eight finishers, sectional qualifiers and produced the program's first junior national qualifier.
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Collins began his career as a graduate assistant under Brian Reynolds at Drury University. Prior to joining the Missouri State staff in 2007, Collins was the head swimming & diving coach for the Springfield Parkview and Ozark High programs.
Collins graduated from Drury in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in design arts and a master's degree in communications in 2007. He was an Academic All-American at Drury and specialized in the backstroke events, helping the Panthers to a pair of NCAA Division II national titles in 2003 and 2005 and two national runner-up finishes (2002, 2004).
Dave Collins' hire is pending approval by the Missouri State University Board of Governors at its next meeting on May 17.
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