Longtime coach, Troy supporter passes away

Published 10:29 pm Thursday, October 27, 2011

DOTHAN — Another iconic sports figure in the Wiregrass has passed away in 2011.

Former Troy University graduate and youth baseball coach Terry Collins died Thursday morning in Dothan after a bout with ALS. He was 56-years old.

Collins is survived by his wife Judy, brother Shannon, daughter Stephanie Crawford and grandson Cole Crawford. He was an active member of Dothan’s Covenant United Methodist Church who was involved with several service organizations in the area.

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Collins’ passing marks the fourth well-known Wiregrass sports figure to pass away this year. Former WTVY Sports Director Al Roberts, ex-Troy University head baseball coach Chase Riddle and longtime Wiregrass sports official John Christy have died in the last 10 months.

Collins was born on August 16, 1955 in Dothan. He was a 1973 graduate of Dothan High School who fell in love with baseball. In 1974, Collins was drafted by the Boston Red Sox and played for their minor league affiliate in Winter Haven (Fla.). He played for two years in the Boston organization.

Collins received his Bachelor of Science in 1978 and Masters of Science degree six years later from Troy University. From 1978-1981, Collins was a teacher, assistant football coach and head baseball coach at Ashford High School. In 1982, Collins left Ashford to become the head baseball coach and assistant football coach at Dothan High School. He retired from Dothan High School as an administrator (assistant principal) in 2004.

In 1993, Collins became the president and founder of Screentech. Screentech became a huge screen print and embroidery business that places athletic merchandise to schools and businesses. It is also a stadium store that sells Troy, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida and Florida State appearel. Screentech is located on Kelley Drive near the Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan.

Four years later, Collins was awarded the Alabama College Bookstore Association Vendor of the Year. In 2001, Collins earned the Troy University Distinguished Alumni of the Year. During the same year, Collins founded the Screentech Wiregrass Baseball Classic. The tournament helped bring in some of the top collegiate baseball talent in the nation to southeast Alabama for a three-day weekend in late February or early March. The tournament was hosted by Troy University and held every year at Northcutt Field until 2008.

In 2007, Collins was named the Dothan Convention Visitors Tourism Person of the Year.

In 2009, the Dothan High School Athletics Fieldhouse was named in Collins’ honor. During the same year, Collins was inducted into the Troy University Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2010, Collins got inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame.

Randall Williams, who co-owned Screentech with Terry and Shannon, said Collins is someone that will certainly be missed.

“Terry was respected by everyone at Screentech, the Dothan community and the Wiregrass area,” Williams said. “He will sorely be missed by us all. Terry was a very giving and caring individual who always had time to listen.

“He was a tremendous asset to the Wiregrass area past and present. He promoted all sports. But I think baseball was at the center of his heart. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox and became a baseball coach. He was firm, but fair. He had rules. But he was always fair with his players.

“Terry loved the game and all of his players. People who usually come in the store always talked to him, thanked him and respected him for his teaching and coaching.”

Troy University athletic director Steve Dennis said that Collins will be well remembered by all who knew him.

“He was a dynamic individual,” Dennis said. “He will be greatly missed.”

“He had a strong commitment to see Troy University grow and recognized not only locally but worldwide.”

Dennis also said Collins’ amazing generosity is something to be admired.

“There are two types of people, givers and takers. Collins was definitely a giver and his way of life was contagious.”

“Terry was a true Troy Trojan and a true friend.”

Houston Academy head football coach Jimmy Addison, who worked with Collins at DHS, said everyone lost a dear friend.

“He was a great friend to everybody,” Addison said. “He was the same person everytime you saw him. It didn’t who you were. He was a great guy.

“We started coaching together at DHS until I left in 2003. We worked together. He was really humorous. But he was firm and fair with the kids. He had great relationships with the kids and everybody. That’s who he was.

“There’s absolutely nothing you can say bad about him.”

Visitation services for Collins will be held at Covenant United Methodist Church in Dothan on Saturday, Oct. 29 from noon until 2:30 p.m. Funeral services will follow at 3 p.m

Wes Johnson contributed to this report.