A national search for Collins' replacement will begin immediately
A three-time conference coach of the year, Ian Collins has transformed the UK program into an annual contender from the ground up, taking over in its infancy in 1994 and running up 188 career wins at UK and a winning percentage hovering just over 60-percent. Collins enters the 2011 season with 199 career wins and an experienced and a talented group of players ready to add to an impressive resume.
The Collins File
Birthdate: April 14, 1963 Hometown: Bridge North, England Wife: Jenny Children: son Jack (8), daughter Victoria (5) First season as head coach: 1994
1997 MAC Coach of the Year
1999 NSCAA Mideast Region Coach of the Year
1999 MAC Coach of the Year
2001 MAC Coach of the Year
Served as an assistant at St. John's prior to arriving at Kentucky.
Was the youngest Division I head coach in the nation when hired at Hofstra in 1986.
Awarded the Robert McNulty Award in 1993 as the outstanding coaching candidate at the United States Soccer Federation Coaching School.
Earned his USSF "A" coaching license in 1994 and holds a National Soccer Coaches Association of America Premier Diploma.
In 1995, guided Kentucky to a 16-5-1 record, which included a 1-0 win over Indiana, while earning the school's first national ranking.
Guided Kentucky to its first NCAA Tournament berth in 1999 and has been to four in the past six seasons.
Led Wildcats to four Mid-American Conference championships and three MAC Tournament titles in six-year stretch between 1999-2004.
Developed two All-Americans, 29 All-Region and 63 All-Conference players with 111 SEC Honor Roll members and four NSCAA Team Academic Awards.
In 2008, guided UK to Conference USA Tournament championship game, a No. 21 national ranking and a second-place finish in C-USA.
Collins, a native of Bridgnorth, England, came to UK after spending three years at St. John's University in Jamaica, N.Y as an Assistant Coach. Since arriving, Collins formed Kentucky into a run-away powerhouse in the Mid-American Conference and an annual contender in the rugged Conference USA. Collins' paced UK through a decade of dominance in the MAC, posting a 44-13-4 record from 1995-2004, winning a staggering 75-percent of its contests and a total of seven regular season and tournament titles.
After solidifying itself as the team-to-beat in the MAC, Collins' oversaw a critical transition into C-USA for Kentucky in 2005. Since the transition, Collins hasn't allowed the program to do anything but win, winning 70-percent of its league matches and finishing among the top three in the conference for four of six seasons in the league.
In a conference packed with mid-continent titans SMU and Tulsa, Kentucky has stepped right into the fray, finishing second in the C-USA regular-season in 2006 and 2008 and posting third-place finishes in 2007 and 2010 both seasons that saw the UK team crippled with injuries and adversity.
UK and Tulsa are the only teams to make the conference tournament field in every season since the league was realigned in. Since UK entered C-USA, the Wildcats own the second-best overall record in the league (25-11-4), posting four second-place finishes (two regular season and two Conference Tournament finals)
UK has also packed in the crowds in recent years. Overall, UK has led the league in attendance three times since joining the conference in 2005. In 2010, UK average 1002 fans per game in ten home dates.
After a 3-4-2 initial league run in 2005, UK's first season in the conference, Collins guided UK to a stellar 2006 campaign. In 2006, the Wildcats went 14-5-2 their second highest total ever and finished in second place in C-USA -- one point behind SMU, which was ranked No. 1 in the Nation in College Soccer all season long. Kentucky also played against SMU in the final of the Conference Tournament being narrowly defeated.
Along with the wins in 2006 came national recognition as UK returned to the top 25 after a one-year absence, reaching as high as No. 13, the best in school annals.
Kentucky also returned to dominance at home in 2006, posting a school-record 10-1 mark at the UK Soccer Complex in 2006, including a 1-0 double-overtime victory over sixth-ranked South Carolina.
After losing two of the more prolific offensive players in the history of the program to professional soccer in 2006, Collins was faced with one of the more challenging coaching jobs of his career in 2007, as UK was hit with a crippling injury bug, losing as many as 14 players from the regular-playing rotation. Collins was left to pick up the pieces, turning future All-America defender Barry Rice into one of UK's lone goal-scoring threats on set pieces and grinding out a 5-3, third-place finish in the league, including the first win over a top-ranked team in school annals, a come-from behind 2-1 win over No. 1 SMU.
Enter the 2008 season and another amazing coaching job from Collins, as the Wildcats posted 12 wins and a final No. 21 national ranking. Collins directed UK to a second-place finish in the conference, going 6-1-1 and advancing to the championship game of the C-USA Tournament against Tulsa. After falling behind early, UK rallied to even the game and force the decisive penalty kicks, eventually losing 4-2 in penalties. Despite the penalty-kick decider, UK ended the season on a school-record 10-match unbeaten streak and when the NCAA selection committee made its picks the following Monday, UK was the only team ranked in the top-25 to not get a dancing card; a disappointing finale to the 2008 season.
The 2009 campaign, led by a trio of captains, was hindered by losses in the first three conference games. Needing to win the remainder of its conference games in order to make the C-USA Tournament, UK's defense was up to the challenge, allowing only two goals over the remaining five games earning a spot in the C-USA Tournament, posting four conference road match wins.
While the team's coached by Collins over the last two decades have had a lot of success, his individual tutelage has shined bright, with a total of four players earning All-America honors - including Rice, UK's first two-time All-American selection (2008, 2009), and Matt Lodge, the first Freshman All-American (2009) in school history. A total of 34 players have earned All-Region honors since 1994 and since UK joined C-USA in 2005, 28 players have earned All-Conference USA recognition. While in the MAC, 44 of Collins' student-athletes earned All-MAC accolades, directing three players to MAC Player of the Year honors. In 2009, Collins placed two players on MLS rosters, as Jason Griffiths was picked by the New England Revolution in the MLS SuperDraft, while Rice signed a professional contract with D.C. United.
In addition to producing outstanding teams, Collins has shaped outstanding student-athletes as well. Collins' players have excelled in the classroom, resulting in 44 MAC Academic Honor Roll and 119 Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll selections - since 1998 - as well as four academic All-Americans. Since joining C-USA in 2005, 92 student-athletes have earned C-USA Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll accolades. Three times since 2005, UK soccer has been honored as the top academic athletic team at the annual Kentucky CATSPY Awards and four times since 2000 UK has been awarded the NSCAA Team Academic Award. Also in 2009, midfielder Chad Hagerty was honored as the Male Student-Athlete of the Year, carrying a 4.0 GPA throughout his academic career.
One of the brightest achievements of the Soccer program is that since the year 2000 five Men's Soccer players have represented UK in the finals for the SEC Boyd McWhorter award, one of the top honors the league hands out for student/athletes.
A year-by-year breakdown of UK dominance under Collins in the MAC is impressive. In 2004, he led the Wildcats to their fourth MAC championship in five years. Kentucky's dominance was evident by the seven players named all-conference that season, led by Player of the Year Jamal Shteiwi. At 11-5-3, UK registered its eighth straight 10-win season.
Collins coached Shteiwi to his second consecutive Player of the Year honor, a first in MAC history. Shteiwi also became the second Wildcat to earn All-America honors under Collins tutelage as both collegesoccernews.com and the NSCAA recognized him.
In 2004, the UK defense also proved to be one of the best in the nation. The Wildcats held their final 17 opponents of the year to one goal or fewer. It is the longest such streak in school annals.
In 2003, Kentucky put together arguably its most successful season in the program's young history. The Wildcats asserted their dominance in the MAC by posting a 6-0-0 regular season conference record, only the fourth team in league history to finish with an unblemished season. Even more impressive during the season was the fact that Kentucky shutout each of its six league foes in that span. As a team, the Cats finished ninth in the nation with an 0.68 goals against average and its 10 shutouts ranks second in school annals.
Since 1999, the Wildcats have won four conference championships, three conference tournament titles and made four trips to the NCAA Tournament.
However, Collins has been recognized for his excellent coaching ability since before he had UK regularly winning championships. In 1997, he was named the MAC Coach of the Year for the first time after leading the Wildcats to a second-place finish in the league.
In 1999, Collins earned his second MAC Coach of the Year award and was also named the NSCAA Mideast Region Coach of the Year. That season, he guided Kentucky to the MAC Tournament championship and its first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. In a heartbreaker, the Wildcats pushed defending national champion Indiana to the brink before falling in double overtime. Collins led Kentucky to its first regular-season MAC championship in 2000 while repeating as tournament champs. UK completed the incredible season in the Sweet 16 after advancing past No. 9 St. Louis in the NCAA Tournament.
In 2001, the Wildcats provided Collins with the team's highest offensive output since 1995, nearly breaking a school record for points with 125 on 39 goals and a school-record 47 assists. UK finished the year with a 14-6-1 record, its first undefeated MAC season, its third straight MAC tourney title as well as another berth in the NCAA tourney. Collins received his third MAC Coach of the Year Award for his efforts.
Arriving in the Bluegrass as an assistant coach in 1992, Collins has been a part of the Wildcat family for 17 of its 19 years. He spent two seasons as assistant for former head coach Sam Wooten before taking over the reins prior to the 1994 campaign.
In just his second season, Collins led the Wildcats to a school-record 16 wins, including a victory over established powerhouse Indiana.
Two years later, Collins' Kentucky squad posted a 12-7-2 overall record, including a 2-1 triumph over rival Bowling Green in front of more than 3,000 fans at the UK Soccer Complex.
Prior to coming to Lexington and as the top assistant at St. Johns, Collins was involved with all areas of coaching the Red Storm, including allocation of scholarship and recruiting funds. He was directly responsible for a daily training schedule and developed team techniques and tactics.
After coming to the United States in 1986 from Great Britain, a 22-year-old Collins became the youngest head coach in Division I soccer when he accepted the head coaching job at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
During his playing days, Collins earned a spot on the English School Boy Under-18 National Team as well as spending time with Walsall, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Crewe Alexandra.
In January 1993, Collins was awarded the Robert McNulty Award as the outstanding coaching candidate at the United States Soccer Federation Coaching School. In January 1994, Collins earned his USSF "A" coaching license, and he also holds a NSCAA Premier Diploma. Collins has spent time in Europe completing the first part of the UEFA "A" license.
Collins spent three years in New York working as a stockbroker on Wall Street completing both the Series 7 and 63 examinations, and in 1990, he earned his real estate sales license.
A graduate of Bridgnorth Endowed High School in England, Collins attended Crewe and Alsager College (Cheshire, England) and received his HNC degree in business finance in 1985.
Born April 14, 1963, Collins and his wife Jenny have two children, Jack (ten) and Victoria (eight). They reside in Lexington, Ky.