Gary "Bo" Collins
Gary "Bo" Collins
Organization: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Year: 2019 Inductee

In 34 seasons as the head baseball coach at his alma mater, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Gary “Bo” Collins compiled a 1,028-766-7 (.571) record. His 1,028 wins make him the winningest coach in any sport at SIUE and at the time of his 1,000th win in 2011, he was one of only 18 active collegiate coaches throughout the NCAA to have reached that plateau.

Collins began his coaching career as an SIUE assistant coach to Roy E. Lee, then moved to Lewis and Clark Community College under head coach Arnold Copeland. Collins returned to SIUE in 1979 as head coach and led the Cougars to 14 NCAA Div. II Regional appearances and five NCAA Div. II College World Series appearances in his first 30 years. He successfully transitioned SIUE into the Division I era beginning in 2009, culminating with the Cougars winning 28 games in 2011 and 27 in his final season of 2012.

In SIUE's final season in the Great Lakes Valley Conference in 2008, Collins led his team to the GLVC tournament for the 11th time in 13 seasons. The Cougars won two GLVC titles while members of the conference.

During his tenure, Collins mentored 18 All-Americans, 94 All-Region performers and 59 All-Conference selections. Collins coached three conference Players of the Year, three conference Freshmen of the Year, and one conference Pitcher of the Year. His teams won 30 games in a season 19 times and won at least 40 games four times. In 1991, the Cougars went 43-17.

His 2001 team also was the first to have two players (Mark Bugger and Chad Opel) record 100 or more hits in a season.

Following the 2012 baseball season, Collins assumed the duties of SIUE’s first solely dedicated director of development for Intercollegiate Athletics. He retired from the University in 2014.

Collins was a two-time clinic speaker at the ABCA Convention and served as a clinic speaker at the local and state level on many occasions as well. In addition to his induction into the ABCA Hall of Fame, Collins was inducted to the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.

Collins had a professional baseball career of his own, being drafted in the 12th round and playing in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. In 1969, he became SIUE's first player in any sport to sign a professional contract.

Collins earned a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1970 and a master's degree in counselor education in 1973, both from SIUE. He is a 40-year continuous member of the ABCA.