Coaches spotlight: Candice Collins, TWCP volleyball

By: Sam Morrow, Special to Woodlands Online
| Published 10/21/2013


THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- When looking at an average high school coach, fans look at their overall record, stats and how many players move on to play in college, and sometimes that is all they will look at. To go beyond what it says on the paper and look at who the coach actually is and why they consistently win is another story.

The Woodlands College Park's Head Varsity Volleyball Coach Candice Collins is an example of how looking deeper into a coach reveals their true success.

Being a girl's high school coach not an easy task;mix in homework, a high school social life, dating, and drama along with practices and games and you'll need a coach that is more than just teaching her players how to be successful on the court. Not any coach can do it, but Collins seems to be able to do it with ease.

“I enjoy coaching and teaching young girls,” Collins said. “Being on a team in high school teaching them discipline develops their character to support one another and to be a part of a team.”

Collins' deep passion for this sport started in junior high. Her junior high coaches watched as Collins fell head-over-heels in love with her future career. At this point she knew volleyball was her sport.

“I had played all sorts of sports when I was younger because I was competitive; however, volleyball just stuck with me and it was one of my junior high coaches who guided me to being stuck with volleyball,” Collins said.

Her first club team was the Amarillo Jo's and Collins stayed with them until she left for college. Collins claims that it was due to the leadership that surrounded her that pushed her to play in college at Sam Houston State University (SHSU). She had quite a collegiate career, as well. While at SHSU she was two-time captain, team MVP in 1999, and holds the fourth all-time career leading assists record. After her volleyball career at SHSU, Collins became the graduate assistant for the volleyball and the strength & conditioning programs at SHSU.

“I guess when I think about it, being at SHSU was how I ended up at College Park,” Collins said. “While I was working in Montgomery, I started the girls soccer program. Coach Richard Carson,TWCP Athlete Director, contacted me because he knew I played volleyball and I had experience in starting a program.”

Since being at College Park, Collins has developed the varsity volleyball program into the state ranked team that it is today. She has been the backbone behind six playoff appearances, three district championships as well as almost 200 wins.

“There are so many young women that have contributed to the wins over the years. So many great players and so many great teams,” Collins said. “I am so proud of how far we have come since the opening of the school and how we continue to build the CP volleyball tradition.”

To Collins, it is more than just having a team that looks great on paper. She uses all her experience to push the Cavalier's to new heights. Growing up, she was the kind of person that could never just play for fun. She had to win. Even today her players know her competitive spirit. Collins feels CP is the perfect fit for her because she sets goals and the game of volleyball is all about setting the goal of not only reaching a certain number of points in a game, but then pushing past that point to finish the match. Not only does being the Cavalier coach fit her personality, but every aspect in her life has prepared her to be a leader.

“At first I knew I had to be in a job where every day was different. I do not think that I could go to work at 8 a.m. then go home at 5 p.m. and repeat,” Collins said. “I like teaching athletes and I love teaching what I know. I knew how to be leader.”

Being a coach is, in fact, a learning process. As coaches grow with their athletes, they help each other and teach each other. Collins now has a style of coaching all her own.

“I feel like I know the game, even at this point in my coaching career I know that I even have things to learn,” Collins said. “I think that it is important to have a relaxed, fun atmosphere, especially in high school with all the other distractions that are going on. However, when I mean business it means get ready to work because I mean it.”

Collins realizes that the type of the team that a coach has also plays into how she coaches them.

“It is amazing to me to watch the girls grow up in the program as woman, as athletes and just grow up overall,” Collins said. “They build their character and learn life skills that starts with learning how to be apart of a team.”

“It also gives the girls a sense of pride about wearing their school colors and know that they are school leaders,” Collins said.

To Collins, being a team means that there is a support system around any player. Volleyball is not an individual sport. The game does not come down to the team with the most talent, it comes down to the team with the most unity, who play for one another and who have the most leadership. Part of College Park's success is due to Collins. She is the first volleyball coach the school hired and she does not plan on leaving her girls just yet. Besides, she is one of the only coaches recognized by her signature color.

“What makes me unique as a coach is that I wear pink, people remember me and my team,” Collins said.

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