Arrow-right Camera

Color Scheme

Subscribe now
Eastern Washington University Football

Eastern Washington introduces Tim Collins as athletic director

By Dan Thompson For The Spokesman-Review

When Tim Collins graduated from Loyola Marymount in May 2005, he wanted to get involved in college athletics. He just wasn’t totally sure what that would look like.

He began as the director of basketball operations for the Cal State Fullerton men’s team, followed a couple of years later by a stint at Chadron State in Nebraska – where he met Renee, now his wife – and then a couple of seasons at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston.

“That was kind of the first avenue that I took,” Collins said.

He loved coaching, but along the way, the phone calls changed.

“The administration phone, the fundraising phone, that one started ringing more than the coaching phone,” Collins said, “and so I had to listen to that.”

Thirteen years after leaving the Pacific Northwest, the 40-year-old Collins was back Thursday, standing in front of a podium next to Reese Court in Cheney, where he was introduced as the new athletic director at Eastern Washington.

“What’s exciting about today is not about me, but it’s about everybody in this room,” Collins said, addressing student-athletes, coaches, administrators, donors and media, as well as Renee and their two children. “What’s exciting about today is what we can all come together to accomplish.”

Identifying as a son of an educator, a former coach and a tireless fundraiser, Collins thanked EWU President Shari McMahan for the opportunity to be an athletics director for the first time, and he thanked his family for supporting his acceptance of that offer.

Collins spent the past four years at Fresno State, where he was the athletic department’s senior associate director for development. It is the same title he held at the University of Wyoming from 2013 to 2018.

Prior to that, it was during his time at Black Hills State in Spearfish, South Dakota, that Collins transitioned from coaching to administrating. Looking back at that time, he said he ended his first week as an administrator exhausted – but also full of purpose.

“I felt so fulfilled and I was (thinking), “Oh my gosh, this is what I’m supposed to be doing,’ ” Collins said. “And so we’ve kind of followed and continued down that path and that journey, and I’m really excited for this opportunity.”

Throughout his introduction, Collins referred to his time as a fundraiser, as well as the importance of the relationship between a university’s athletics department and the university as a whole. He said the focus for the department will be on three areas of service: to its student-athletes, to its campus and to its community.

“We amplify the mission of the university,” Collins said. “We amplify the message.”

Collins was impressed throughout the search process by how well his vision aligned with McMahan’s and how much he felt those at the university supported the athletic department.

In her introduction of Collins, McMahan – who started her job at Eastern a year ago Thursday – reiterated the traits the search committee was looking for in replacing outgoing athletic director Lynn Hickey.

“We knew we needed a person with a commitment to our community,” McMahan said. “We needed an individual with strong fundraising experience, someone who will connect with our supporters and sponsors, and build relationships with university staff, with our amazing alumni and with our dedicated fans and student-athletes.”

Collins, who will officially begin his job on July 15, said he was eager to get to work and set out three priorities: understanding the program and how it serves the campus, building relationships and finding areas of opportunity and acting on them.

After the introduction, standing on the track around Roos Field, Collins recalled a conversation he had with Hickey the day he was announced as her replacement. Hickey resigned her position at Eastern after a five-decade career in athletics so she could be closer to family.

Collins said he appreciated Hickey’s work at Eastern, especially since 2020, through and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The last couple of years have been incredibly challenging in higher education and in intercollegiate athletics,” Collins said. “I am going to be the beneficiary of some of those structures that were already in place, and I’m pretty fortunate.”