Already a familiar face at Duke football practices this season, Jim Collins is back on Duke’s payroll at a time the Blue Devils are searching for answers.
Having been hired as an assistant coach at Duke three previous times dating back to 1983, Collins officially returned to the team this week when he was hired as an analyst to assist head coach David Cutcliffe.
The move, in the works since Collins’ stint coaching under Steve Spurrier with the Alliance of American Football’s Orlando entry ended when the league ceased operations midway through its inaugural season last spring, was announced Monday by the school.
While it became official two days after the Blue Devils suffered an ugly 48-14 loss at Virginia on Saturday, Cutcliffe said he’d been seeking to add Collins back to his staff for months.
Collins previously coached at Duke in 1983 as a graduate assistant and 1985-86 under coach Steve Sloan, 1987-89 with Spurrier and from 2008-15 on Cutcliffe’s staff as linebackers coach.
“When the other league ended,” Cutcliffe said during his weekly news conference Tuesday, “Jim and I had talked about a part-time opportunity that could work for him. Jim’s not through. He’s a football coach. It’s in his blood. So this is an opportunity for me to have somebody I can bounce things off of, another person that has a lot of experience.”
NCAA rules allow 10 assistant coaches who can recruit and work with players on the field. In his role, Collins won’t be allowed to do those things but he can analyze game film and consult the coaching staff.
The Blue Devils had plenty of that to do after the loss at Virginia that Cutcliffe on Tuesday called “a horrific setback.”
“The amount of experience and knowledge Coach Collins possesses is surpassed by few in the football coaching industry,” Cutcliffe said in a statement Duke released on Monday.