Building an empire

Championships, be it either a conference title or a national crown, is what all college coaches strive to acquire.

With his fifth season as men’s and women’s track and field coach nearing completion, head coach Curtis Collier is molding Sam Houston State University’s track program into one of the best in the conference with six Southland titles on his resume so far.

But don’t let the number fool you; Collier isn’t satisfied with his total. With the upcoming Southland Conference Championships for his two squads (May 9 – May 11 at Bowers Stadium) the coach is looking to try and get his seventh conference championship.

“Being a coach, you’re never satisfied with the level you get at,” Collier said. “I haven’t done as much as I would like, but that’s just the nature of my personality.”

“Over my professional career it’s always been, ‘What we’ve done is good but there’s more we can do’. That’s how I’ve always I thought about SHSU,” Collier said. “We want to be the top 20 in the nation every year. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there to compete in the Southland Conference year after year.”

A former runner himself, Collier went to Texas A&M University where he ran as a freshman and was also a member of the Corp. of Cadets. He stayed with the Corp., until his graduation in 1979 and later served 25 years in the Army Reserves before retiring as a colonel.

In his five seasonsat SHSU, Collier has the distinction of being one of only two coaches in the 34-year history of the Southland Conference to win the “Coach of the Year” award for both outdoor men’s and women’s track and field in back-to-back seasons (2006-07).

Though the past accolades are a nice point on his resume, Collier said that he’s preparing himself and his team for further success.

“Our freshman are starting to come around and I expect to have some pretty great performances from them,” Collier said

The women’s team looks to add on their early season success when they claimed the SLC Indoor Championship.

“We went into the indoor championship ahead on paper and performed well and won. I expect that sort of thing again,” Collier said. “I’ve coached at home conference championships four or five times in my career and every time we have scored 20 to 40 points higher than we were expected to. I attribute that to the desire to perform well in front of the home crowd”

Collier acknowledges that what has helped him lead such a successful program at SHSU has been his assistant coaches.

“The head coach gets all the credit if things are going well, and the blame and could be fired if things are going poorly,” Collier said. “But it’s through a lot of hardwork by the assistants that we are successful. The assistant coaches are the most crucial element of success other than the athletes themselves.”

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