Dave Collins, a former Missouri State assistant, enters his second year as head coach of the Bears' swimming & diving program in 2013.
In his first full season at the helm, Collins swept Coach of the Year honors, voted on by Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) and Mid-American Conference (MAC) head coaches. The Bears won an unprecedented sixth straight title at the 2013 MVC Women's Swimming & Diving Championships in Carbondale, Ill. Altogether, Missouri State won 11 events and picked up five NCAA provisional times, while junior Renata Sander and freshman Dora Kiss shared co-MVC Swimmer of the Year accolades.
Meanwhile, the Missouri State men experienced a successful run during the 2012-13 campaign, capped off by the Bears' first NCAA Championship appearance since 2005. Sophomore qualifier Paul Le became the first swimmer in school history to score points at NCAAs with a top-16 finish in the 200-yard backstroke, earning him Division I All-American honorable mention recognition. As a team, Missouri State recorded its highest finish (2nd) at a MAC Championship event, just six points away from unseating Eastern Michigan for the title. The men notched 12 NCAA `B' cuts throughout the season and after a 23-year hiatus from the NCAA Division I Top 25, the Bears debuted at No. 23 in the season's first poll.
Under Collins' direction as interim head coach during the 2012 spring semester, the women won their fifth consecutive MVC championship and recorded the second-largest margin of victory in MSU history.
As head coach, Collins and the Bears' staff have produced 23 All-MVC first team selections and seven All-MAC first teamers. Academically, with team GPAs of 3.0 or higher, both Bear squads have annually earned CSCAA Scholar All-America team honors.
Collins was named the fifth head coach at Missouri State on April 16, 2012, joining the likes of Jack Steck (1983-2011), Kent Kirchner (1982-83), Barry Hartwyk (1979-82) and Dale Williams (1965-79).
In addition to coaching duties and day-to-day operations, Collins has taken the Bears' recruiting efforts to new heights. He and his coaching staff are responsible for signing Missouri State's first top-100 recruit: 2012 Olympian Uvis Kalnins of Latvia. CollegeSwimming.com listed Kalnins as the No. 68 overall swimmer in the 2012 recruiting class.
In four years as an assistant under MSU Hall of Famer Jack Steck, Collins coached 26 Valley women's individual champions and 18 men's individual champions at the Sun Belt Conference and Mid-American Conference Championships. Other notable achievements as an assistant and associate head coach included four consecutive MVC titles and a Sun Belt title for the MSU men in 2008. At the 2009 MVC Championships, Collins' stroke group, led by Jordan Hawkins, Brianna Willoughby and Chelsea Dirks-Ham, combined for seven gold medals.
Since his arrival at Missouri State, the Bears have broken every men's and women's school record in the non-freestyle events.
During his stint as an MSU assistant, Collins simultaneously served as head coach for the Missouri State Aquatics club team, where he developed several Missouri Valley top-eight finishers, sectional qualifiers and produced the program's first junior national qualifier. Prior to Missouri State, Collins enjoyed stops as head swimming & diving coach for Springfield Parkview and Ozark High School.
As a student-athlete at Drury, Collins was an Academic All-American and specialized in the backstroke events. During his four-year career, the Panthers won a pair of NCAA Division II national titles (2003, 2005) and two national runner-up finishes (2002, 2004).
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Collins finished his undergraduate degree in design arts in 2005 and earned his master's degree in communications in 2007, both at Drury. He and his wife, Amy, have one daughter, Annie.