Steve Collins Retires after 37 Years in Charge of SMU Women’s Team

Photo Courtesy: SMU Athletics

Steve Collins Retires after 37 Years In Charge of SMU Women’s Team

Steve Collins on Monday announced his retirement from SMU’s women’s swim and dive program, ending a 37-year tenure.

Collins led SMU to 35 trips to the NCAA Championships. The Mustangs had nine top-five finishes and 15 top-10 results. He was twice named the NCAA Coach of the Year (1991, 1996) and earned conference coach of the year awards 11 times, the most recent in the American Athletic Conference in 2015 and 2016. Collins was named to the CSCAA’s list of the 100 greatest college swimming and diving coaches of the last 100 years in 2021.

Collins coached 59 individuals to 239 All-America honors, including 98 relays. He led mentored 373 conference individual champions, 11 conference swimmers and 32 Olympians at nine Games. He was on the Olympic staff for Bulgaria at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and for Slovakia at the 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008.

“SMU Swimming and Diving owes so much to Steve Collins,” Director of Athletics Rick Hart said in a university statement. “He has established a championship tradition and culture here on the Hilltop and has shaped the lives of hundreds of student-athletes. The Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and Barr-McMillion Natatorium and Holt Hickman Outdoor Pool would not exist if not for Steve’s hard work and love for SMU Swimming and Diving.  We are so grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best.”

Under Collins, SMU won the AAC twice, Conference USA six times and the WAC on nine occasions. The Mustangs’ highest NCAA finish came in 1996, when SMU was the national runner-up. Martina Moravcova, a two-time Olympic silver medalist, was the 1997 NCAA Swimmer of the Year.

“Steve has been a pillar in the coaching ranks of the SMU Athletics Department since arriving in 1986,” SMU Men’s Swimming Coach Greg Rhodenbaugh said. “He has been an incredible mentor to all his athletes and coaches here on the Hilltop, including myself. Starting in his first year, he built the program into a national and international powerhouse that stood the test of time. Replacing Steve and his passion for SMU, the sport of swimming and our swimming and diving community will be a tall task. He leaves behind a history and culture of excellence that is unparalleled. What a blessing it has been to share the deck again with him these last four seasons.”

Collins graduated from Florida State in 1977, where he was a team captain. The native of Youngstown, Ohio, began his college coaching career at South Carolina, where he led the Gamecocks to six top-20 finishes at NCAAs. Collins’ wife, Toni, is an SMU graduate, and his twin daughters, Kate and Hanna, attend SMU and serve as team managers.

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2 months ago

Amazing Coach and person! Thankful for Coach Steve.

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