A familiar figure has returned to the Carson Student-Athlete Center after a seven-year absence.
Tom Collins -- known to all as TC -- spent twenty-one years at Arizona State Athletics, eventually rising to Senior Associate Athletic Director. He spent the last seven years one hour northeast of Indianapolis, as Athletic Director at Ball State University.
Now Collins, has returned home to Tempe as the Senior Director of Major Gifts for the Sun Devil Club.
He "looks forward to becoming a great team member of the Sun Devil Club and getting back involved with donors and alumni…I’m excited to be back working with several people whom I spent many years working with and all the great donors and supporters of Sun Devil athletics. I am also excited to back with family and have the opportunity to watch my two grandsons grow and become Sun Devils.”
Collins’ move to Ball State in 2006 required adjustments in a few areas. First, there was the weather – he had to get used to the cold and the snow. In addition, Collins accustomed himself to the larger role of an Athletic Director. “It changes when you sit in the AD chair and all the decisions become your responsibility, dealing with donors, media, coaches, alumni, parents, sponsors. You realize you are responsible for an important unit that is part of the University.” Collins also sat on the President’s cabinet, which amplified his ability to make a positive impact on the university.
During his tenure in Indiana as a Cardinal, Collins’ efforts significantly elevated Ball State as a university and an athletic department. “We improved our facilities for football, built a new soccer stadium, added new locker rooms for track and field, soccer, field hockey, gymnastics, and softball. We created a new strategic plan and new plans to improve gender equity. The football team went to back-to-back bowl games for the first time ever and played in the MAC Championship football for the first time ever. In 2008, the football team was ranked and went 12-0 including playing in some of the highest rated games on ESPN and ESPN2 for mid-week games.”
One of his two best memories of a sporting event at Ball State, Collins said, would be their first football game played at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2011, home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, against the Indiana Hoosiers. Ball State won 27-20. A second everlasting memory was when the women’s basketball team won the MAC title and advanced to the NCAA for the first time in school history during the 2008-2009 season. They defeated University of Tennessee in the first round, which was Tennessee’s first loss in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Looking forward, TC is set to help the Sun Devil athletics organization to achieve success moving forward. He wants “to be a great team member and help raise the monies we need to achieve and maintain success.”
Collins is also certain that his experiences as an Athletic Director will help him in his new role with Arizona State’s Sun Devil Club. His involvement with private giving at Ball State has provided him with a greater appreciation for budgeting.
Collins is appreciative of the experience and great memories at Ball State, but he says he returned home with his wife, Kathy, to be part of their grandchildren’s’ lives, watch them grow up, and return to where they raised their own family.
TC is also eager to cheer the Sun Devils on in the stands, especially when they play their Wildcat rivals. Despite spending his last seven years at Ball State, Collins would choose ASU to beat Ball State in any sport, hands down…Once a Sun Devil at heart, always a Sun Devil at heart.