One of the Stony Brook football team’s biggest additions this past offseason was not to the roster, but rather to the coaching staff. Bryan Collins was the former head coach of the football team at Long Island University (LIU) — having coached each of the last 23 seasons there — and was hired by Stony Brook to be their defensive line coach two weeks ago after stepping down from his role at LIU.
“We got somebody who’s got great experience and great success,” head coach Chuck Priore said on Monday. “[He’s an] extremely successful head coach in our backyard, a really, really terrific guy.”
Collins joins a Stony Brook team whose defense had its ups and downs last season. The Seawolves allowed 22.25 points per game but an unimpressive 362.5 yards per game, having particular trouble with defending against the pass. They were tied for the second best red zone defenders in the conference, giving up touchdowns on 70% of opportunities. The season before that, Stony Brook especially struggled, giving up touchdowns on 84.2% of red zone trips.
“There’s no indicator of how good you are or how average you were based on last year,” Priore said. “That got put in the garbage can and we moved forward after we played Albany.”
Priore, entering his 14th season as Stony Brook’s head coach, did not hide his excitement on the potential impact that Collins will have on his defense.
“The kids love him,” he said. “He’s fit right in. His experience and his defenses at Post when he was at Division II and moved his way up the scholarship ranks have led this country. His information and game-planning and experience he has there is certainly helpful to our other coaches. He’s a great fit.”
A grizzled veteran, Collins has made a name for himself in New York college football. He enjoyed a very successful career at LIU, posting a 162-84 record across his 23 years there. His career as head coach began in 1998, when the school was competing at the Division II level as the C.W. Post Pioneers. Collins’ team continued to play at the Division II level after rebranding to the LIU Post Pioneers, eventually reaching Division I status after LIU merged its two athletic programs, becoming the LIU Sharks.
Out of his 23 seasons as head coach, 17 of those years have been winning seasons. In Collins’ final season as the head coach of the Sharks, the team finished 2-2, grabbing its first ever wins at the Division I level. He coached his teams to 11 conference titles, along with six trips to the NCAA Division II playoffs.
Priore also added the other things that Collins will bring to the table, such as recruiting high school prospects in the future.
“It’ll even be more important in the recruiting aspect because we’ve got somebody in our tri-state area that understands it and will lead us to success there,” he said.
Collins will make his debut as Stony Brook’s defensive line coach on Thursday night when the Seawolves open up their 2021 season at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, hosting the New Hampshire Wildcats at 6 p.m.
If this move leads to a vast defensive improvement, hiring Collins could very well end up being the steal of the offseason.