Craig Collins | Head Coach | Track and Field | Chicago State University

Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?

Some of the qualities I look for in a recruited student/athlete are a healthy work ethic. 1) A student that knows how to balance his or her work load between academics and athletics and social. 2) A pioneering spirit. A student coming onto my program has to be able to have a certain amount of patience and a strong foundation as we are rebuilding our team. Anyone looking for a program with minimal challenges to overcome need not apply. We are on the verge of building a new outdoor track & field facility. So, we are creative in our training approach. 3) Mental toughness. My team cannot be easily defeated by things unrelated to the sport or related directly to their events. “It not how hard you fall, but how fast do you get up”.


Could you give us an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled?

To acquire more “track & field kids” on my team, I reached out to my alma mater, Julian High and recruited a young lady that stood out because she was surrounded by a low performing team. I saw this young lady on a relay that finished dead last. I’m not sure how they qualified for the state meet. You could tell that this young lady, despite her teammates, had a huge competitive heart. She ran like there was still a chance to win the race despite being more than 100m back. In fact, I felt that she was more disappointed and embarrassed with finishing last. I took a chance on her, gave her a scholarship and during her freshman year, she had the highest GPA on the team and broke 2 school records. No one, and I mean no one thought that this young inner-city kid had a chance to be successful. She proved them all wrong.