By Anthony Rhoads
There's no doubt Steven Collins has worked for some of the most successful and respected high school football coaches in the state.
Collins has been an assistant for such coaches as Marietta's 'Friday' Richards, Luella's Paul Burgdorf and former Riverdale coaches Bill Kennedy, George Spencer and Tommy Webb.
Now, Collins is hoping that his experience will pay off as he has been named the new head coach at Stockbridge.
"A guy like coach Friday, he cares about the kids, not just as football players but as young men," Collins said. "That's kind of the philosophy I have. You learn something from every coach you work for and you take bits and pieces from each coach and that's what I plan to do at Stockbridge."
One of the highlights of his coaching career was in 1998 at Riverdale.
Collins was on the coaching staff of the Riverdale team that went 13-1 and made it to the Class AAA semi-finals in the Georgia Dome.
"It's been very exciting being involved with winning programs but the wins didn't just come on the football field," Collins said. "First and foremost, I want them to be successful in life, go on to college and get their educations. It was exciting being at Riverdale and Marietta; I know what it takes to get there."
Stockbridge has struggled for several years and is coming off a 2-8 season. Even though it's been a while since the Tigers have had a winning season, Collins feels he can turn things around.
"I believe in my heart of hearts that you can win at Stockbridge," he said.
"It's going to be a challenge but it can be done and turned around. It won't be turned around overnight but I think they will be successful in the long run. It's a challenge but an exciting challenge."
Collins said he's going to stress the fundamentals but he's not just going to focus on the physical part of the game. He added that having a positive attitude will go a long way into building a winning program at Stockbridge.
"That's very big," Collins said. "You have to have that to be successful in football. We haven't had very much success in football in the county, barring Union Grove, and a lot of it goes back to attitude. I think the attitude of learning how to win is very important. Attitude is a big part of it."
Stockbridge athletic director Mark Andrews said he is excited to have Collins at Stockbridge.
"I'm overjoyed," he said. "He's got a lot of ideas and he's ready to roll."
Danny Fairbanks was head coach at Stockbridge for two years, compiling a 2-18 record.
Collins has been the offensive coordinator at Luella for the last two years and was an assistant at Riverdale from 1991-99. Before going to Riverdale, he was an assistant at Marietta for four years.
He also served as a graduate assistant at the University of West Georgia.
Collins is originally from Cobb County and went to Pebblebrook High School, where he played for Weyman Sellars, who ranks as one of the winningest coaches in the state.
Collins went on to play football at Liberty University, where he was a teammate of current Eagle's Landing Christian Academy athletic director Scott Queen.