EDH's Collie pursuing football dream
EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. -- When you hear the name Collie, you probably think of BYU football, and specifically the wide receiver position at BYU. Back in 2000, Zac Collie walked on at BYU with very little fanfare. After serving a mission and overcoming a broken leg his redshirt freshman season, Zac soon earned a scholarship, a starting position, and eventually a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007.
Zac was joined at BYU by younger brother Austin, who rewrote the Cougar receiving record book in only three seasons and is currently a standout receiver for the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL.
Like his two older brothers, 2012 Cougar signee Dylan Collie plays wide receiver and is poised to continue the Collie tradition and leave a mark of his own on the BYU football program. What many younger Cougar fans may not know is that Zac, Austin and Dylan Collie are following a tradition that was started by their father, Scott.
Scott Collie was a standout athlete at Bellarmine High School in San Jose, Calif., where he excelled in both baseball and football. As he approached graduation in 1978, Collie had college offers to play both sports, but former BYU assistant Doug Scovil offered him something the other schools didn’t, and he bit.
Collie explained, “I played defense. I also kicked and I punted and I was the back-up quarterback. Then Doug Scovil happened to be at a game and saw me catch the ball. The other schools saw me play defensive back and linebacker, but I didn’t like that. Doug Scovil said I want you to play receiver.”
Collie was sold. He packed his bags and headed to BYU, a school he had never heard of prior to his first meeting with Scovil. As a Cougar, Collie played with quarterback greats Jim McMahon and Steve Young, and they were part of some of the greatest offenses in BYU history. “What I remember of those teams was the utter dominance that we had with the passing attack,” said Collie.
“Back then, it wasn’t if we were going to score, it was how we were going to score. It was interesting to see how teams tried to defend against it. One team dropped 10 guys into pass coverage and rushed one. We saw every type of blitz. We saw teams do things, even to the point of trying to get into our heads. One team, I think it may have been UTEP, didn’t come out on the field for warm-ups.”
After a strong junior season where he caught 26 passes, scored three touchdowns and led an extremely talented receiving corps in yards per catch, Collie became a primary option on the Cougar offense his senior season.
“I was playing well and I had an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game, but I ended up then getting hurt and missed the rest of the season,” Collie recalls.
In spite of missing much of his senior year, Collie made a strong impression in his limited action and the Denver Gold selected him with the 64th overall pick in the initial USFL draft. Unable to reach a contract agreement with Denver, Collie instead accepted a free agent offer with his favorite NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers.
“I was one of the last rookies cut, and my claim to fame was that I was cut by Bill Walsh."
Players cut early on are often informed by an equipment manager or low-level employee, but Collie was cut by “the head guy.”
One week later, Collie joined the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League, where he would play for the next four years. Upon finishing his CFL career, Collie had two career options to consider: joining the family business or a football coaching career.
“When I got done playing, I wanted to coach,” said Collie. “I talked to coach Edwards about coaching, and I spent some time with him understanding the lifestyle of a coach. My wife did not buy into that. She would have supported me in any which way I would have gone, but we already had a couple of kids and it would have been a real dramatic change and I opted to go into the family business.”
Collie became very successful in the family business, but he never lost the desire to coach.
“I always had a passion to coach,” said Collie. “I was able to fulfill that passion in the home by working with the boys at a very early age. I’d begin with target practice with socks, and then you’d see them try and catch the socks. Then as they got to the age when they began playing organized sports, whether it was soccer or youth basketball and football, I coached in that. I took an interest in that, but the interest was that I wanted to make sure the boys were learning the right way. And I think that fulfilled my passion to coach.
“Then as the boys started to get a little bit older they were on their own when they got into high school. There was stuff I would do when they were away from it, but I wasn’t involved in any of their high school coaching.”
Collie still had the desire to coach, so he began working with kids in his local community of Eldorado Hills, Calif. “About six year ago, I said I’ll take the first 12 kids who want to participate and I’ll take them through what I call wide receiver disciplines,” said Collie.
“There were things that you could see just weren’t being coached, and not because coaches didn’t know how, but really because of time. And you really see it now. So for six years I did that, just doing it once a summer. The past two years it evolved into more private requests.”
As Collie’s coaching influence grew, so did the awareness of what he was doing. Hall of Famer Steve Young recently called Scott Collie “one of the best teachers not on a college or NFL payroll.” He was soon receiving calls from parents around the country asking him to work with their sons. In an interesting twist, many of the requests went beyond coaching wide receiver skills and even football.
Collie explained, “When Dylan made the verbal commitment to go to BYU, my wife and I got a number of calls ... from around the country, and it was that question: What did you do? You’ve got three boys now who have been able to go up through junior football, high school football, and now play Division 1 football. You had a daughter who was able to get a golf scholarship to Utah Valley University. What are you doing as parents?
“We don’t necessarily give parental advice. I told them I can’t help you parent, but I can help you coach, and there is so much parallel between football and real life that quite often parenting comes out in the coaching.”
One of those interested parents brought his son to California to work with Collie last summer. As they drove back home, the son talked to his father about his experience with Collie, and the father was very impressed.
“This gentleman contacted one of my buddies and said I don’t think Scott realizes what he has here. There are parents all over that would love to be able to have this knowledge transferred.
“This guy thought about making it a little bit bigger. So I had some sleepless nights, thinking that I could finally follow my passion and my dream of coaching, and hopefully make an impact on kids. That kind of spawned it. As of Oct. 3, I left my professional career and jumped in with both feet and started developing the brand of ReceiverTech.”
Collie launched his ReceiverTech.com website Super Bowl week. ReceiverTech offers a variety of football camps and private coaching sessions, and Scott, Zac and Austin Collie are all involved. ReceiverTech will also hold an invitation-only RT25 camp each summer where top wide receiver prospects from around the country will compete. The top 25 performers, “the RT25,” will be receivers for ESPN’s Elite 11 Quarterback competition in California in July.
Unlike some camps, parents and coaches are encouraged to attend the ReceiverTech camps and training sessions along with their sons. “That’s another thing that kind of makes us different,” said Collie. “We don’t have any secrets. We want coaches there. We want parents there to be able to pick up on the things because a lot of the stuff that we’re doing they can incorporate in their home.
“The biggest enemy to a coach is time. I had a coach say, Scott, we’re a pretty big program, we like to think we spend time. You know we spend 30 minutes a day on individual drills. That’s great, that’s 30 minutes more than some teams, but 30 minutes, does that do anything for you? The kids who really want to get better, that requires additional time.
“I hope I do not give the perception that I know everything, because I don’t,” Collie stressed. “The stuff I’ve gained is from the coaches who coached me, the coaches I’ve been around, and then the coaches my boys have been around. We incorporate all of those things.”
Talking to Scott Collie, you immediately sense his enthusiasm and his unique approach to coaching. He has found a way to incorporate fundamental receiver skills and techniques into everyday activities, and the benefits can go beyond football. Collie’s ability to effectively teach these fundamentals to his sons and other athletes is apparent. Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid echoed that sentiment, saying, “The Collies will help you be a better athlete and also become a better young man.”
Jedd Parkinson is a co-founder and managing editor of www.totalbluesports.com, where he has been covering BYU athletics since 2002. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org