July 31, 2008
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Director of Athletics Richard Giannini announced today that Southern Miss will be retiring Reggie Collier's No. 10 jersey this fall during the Oct. 11 Boise State contest at Carlisle-Faulkner Field at Roberts Stadium.
Collier, who lettered for the University from 1979 to 1982, earned Southern Miss M-Club (letterwinner) Hall of Fame honors, as well as garnering a charter membership in the school's Legends Club, which recognizes a special group of former Southern Miss athletes who have excelled in different sports and eras and has given their heart and soul for the school. Collier joined the school full-time in its athletic department in 2004 as the Coordinator of Athletic Development and Community Relations.
This weekend, Collier will be inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in Jackson.
"We wanted to do something special for Reggie and recognize him for everything that he has given to athletics and our University," Giannini said. "This is the most fitting way - by retiring his jersey so that no one will ever wear No. 10 again in Southern Miss football history. This is something that we have been planning for a long time and we thought that this would be the best time to announce it with his induction to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame this week."
Collier's number will be the third retired by the school with the other two being Brett Favre, who wore No. 4 and Ray Guy, who wore No. 44.
"This is the ultimate compliment for anyone to have his jersey retired," Collier said. "It is something that you look forward to all your life.
"Football is the ultimate team sport and there are 10 other people on the field doing their jobs well so that you can succeed too. If they were a teammate of mine then they should feel that this is a part of them as well."
Collier enjoyed a successful collegiate career under head coaches Bobby Collins and Jim Carmody, but also credits then assistant coaches Whitey Jordan and Jeff Bower for his success as well. During his tenure, he was the first quarterback in NCAA Division I history to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 1,000 yards in the same season, a feat he accomplished in 1981.
The D'Iberville, Miss., native led the University to a number of outstanding victories over nationally-recognized programs such as the 58-14 victory over Florida State, a 38-29 win at Alabama in 1982, as well as six victories over intra-state rivals Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Over his four years, the Golden Eagles amassed four winning seasons and tallied a 31-13-2 mark.
He also led the Golden Eagles to a pair of bowl games, including a 16-14 victory over McNeese State in the 1980 Independence Bowl. For his play in that bowl game, Collier recently was inducted into the Independence Bowl Hall of Honor.
Collier remains prominent in the Southern Miss record book. He is fourth in total offensive plays (1,020), fourth in total offensive yards (5,966), fourth in total offensive yards per game (152.27), fifth in touchdowns responsible for (42), tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns (26), eighth in pass completions (288), eighth in pass attempts (574), eighth in passing yardage (3,662), 10th in rushing yards gained (2,304), 11th in touchdown passes (16), 12th in rushing attempts (446) and 25th in all-purpose running (2,304).
As a junior, Collier finished ninth in the Heisman balloting. The following year, he was selected to participate in the Blue-Gray Classic in 1982 and the Senior Bowl in 1983. In 2000, he was selected, along with Brett Favre, to the Southern Miss Team of the Century.
Collier was drafted by the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL in the first round in 1983 (third player overall selected) and also played with the Washington Federals and the Orlando Renegades. He also spent several seasons in the NFL as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, who drafted him in the sixth round in 1983, and Pittsburgh Steelers.
In his USFL career, he threw for 3,151 yards and tossed 20 touchdown passes. He also added a rushing game of 171 yards, the highest rushing total for a USFL quarterback in a game.
The late, legendary Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant summed up Collier best during his senior campaign after the Golden Eagles defeated the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 13, 1982.
"That Collier's just a super athlete," said Bryant to the Hattiesburg American.. "He just did a super job. He makes it a one-man game. In crucial situations when he has to have yardage, he can take the ball himself and get it. It shouldn't be anything new to us. We've seen him do it before (in 1981's 13-13 tie in Birmingham)."
Well said about one of the finest players ever to wear the Black and Gold.
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