Former QB Reggie Collier honored by D’Iberville
Reggie Collier earned his legend status at the University of Southern Mississippi, but it all started in his first black and gold uniform. Prior to that, a star was born at D’Iberville High School where the former Warrior returned for an emotional ceremony earlier today.
“It means a lot. I hadn’t been back to D’Iberville to the school per say in a long time, and for the school to do this for me, I’m greatly appreciative of it.” Reggie Collier was the recipient of several standing ovations upon his return to his alma mater where his journey to football stardom began more than four decades ago. “This is where it all started here at D’Iberville, here with Coach Singleton. And for this to be done, it sits right up there.”
On-hand to pay tribute to the legendary quarterback with the unveiling of his number 10 jersey was Collier’s former coach, the legendary Buddy Singleton. “He put D’Iberville on the map as far as football is concerned. D’Iberville football has been good over the years, but it started with him.”
But the marriage between player and coach almost never came to be with Collier determined to leave a legacy on the hardwood. “He played basketball his first year, I didn’t even know he played football. Somebody told me, I think one of the coaches told me one day and I saw him and he said the Collier kid, you got him out for football? I said no, I didn’t know he played football. He just plays basketball,” said Singleton.
Collier played football alright, leading the Warriors to a perfect 13-0 record his senior year which was his first and only full season on the gridiron. Albeit a small sample size, the Golden Eagles were on high alert. “I was excited about signing a scholarship, it was unexpected. Because like I said before, Coach Singleton said before I really only played one year of football. So to be able to play one year of football and get a scholarship was pretty special.”
At USM, Collier went on to become the first player in NCAA history to run and pass for more than one thousand yards in a single season. Singleton says the rest is history, but all these years later Collier still has nothing but love for his first coach. “I’ve always had the utmost respect for Coach Singleton. He didn’t know it but he was like a parent to me when I was here. Just coming back, getting the chance to see him again. I’ve seen him before a couple years ago, but in this particular setting it just kind of brought everything together.”
“I think this is a great honor, and I think it’s a great time to do it. Matter of fact, it should have happened a long time ago.”
School officials say they plan on retiring Collier’s number 10 in the near future as a tribute to a career that ended in the NFL in 1987 and culminated with his enshrinement into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. He would be the first Warrior to receive that honor.