Forbes adds Collins to ETSU assistant coaching staff

ETSU men’s basketball head coach Steve Forbes announced Tuesday another addition to his assistant coaching staff, adding former Columbia State head coach Brian Collins to the Buccaneers’ bench.

Collins, a 2006 graduate of Belmont University in Nashville, enjoyed a three-year stop at Columbia State, leading the Chargers to the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association regional championship game in his final two seasons and winning the 2014-2015 tournament title. In his final two years at Columbia State, Collins’ teams compiled a 54-11 overall record and the team made back-to-back appearances in the National Junior College Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.

“Brian Collins is a terrific addition to our staff and community,” Forbes said. “I’ve known Brian for several years and I have watched him grow into a top notch college basketball coach. He has an infectious personality and is someone who will help our players grow on and off the court. His successful experience as a player and coach is an invaluable asset to the establishment of our culture. We are excited and pleased to welcome Brian, his wife Lakeya, and their son History to the ETSU family.”

Multiple Columbia State players have been highly recruited by NCAA Division I, II and III level basketball teams. This season, Collins coached two NJCAA All Americans. Three of his players have signed with NCAA Division I schools with at least three more having a good chance of following suit.

Collins, a star player for the Belmont University Bruins from 2002-06, was a finalist for the Tennessee State University head coaching job last season. He is excited about this new opportunity at ETSU.

“I’m elated to join the staff of Coach Forbes and the ETSU Buccaneers,” Collins said. “This has been a lifelong dream to be working at this level, and I couldn’t be working for a better person or a better man. This is an opportunity that I won’t take for granted, and I look forward to helping this program show the world of college basketball how good we can be here at East Tennessee State. I’m excited about it and look forward to getting to work.”

Forbes said the addition of Collins will also pay dividends on the recruiting trail.

“Brian is a tremendous communicator which translates into being a very effective recruiter,” Forbes said. “He has the passion and work ethic to help attract high quality student-athletes to ETSU. Playing point guard for Rick Byrd at Belmont helped shape his core beliefs as a coach. He had a fantastic teacher.”

Collins was a sixth round draft pick in the National Basketball Developmental League, playing the 2006-2007 season for Finland’s Kouvot Bears. As a college player for the Bruins, Collins scored over 1,000 points and left Belmont as the all-time leader in assists and steals during the Division I era and served as team captain for both his junior and senior years.

After a year of professional basketball in Finland, Collins returned to the U.S. to earn his Master of Education from Tennessee State University, graduating in 2009. During his graduate school years, Collins served as the graduate assistant/director of basketball operations for the TSU Tigers. Before coming to Columbia State, he worked three seasons as an assistant coach at Cumberland University in Lebanon.

Collins is married to Lakeya Collins and they have one son, History Collins.

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