Christopher Collins ’92
Christopher Michael Collins, age 52, passed away unexpectedly on April 21, 2022.
Chris was a beloved father, husband, son, brother, teacher and coach and will be remembered for the dedication, support and inspiration that he provided to so many family members, students and players.
Chris was born on Jan. 16, 1970 in Ann Arbor to Dr. Michael Collins and Carolyn DeVore Collins, both of whom survive.
He was a brother to Kathleen Collins (Jonathan Fields), Richard Collins, Deborah Engerson (Frank Snyder), Andrew Collins and Tamara Collins. Chris spent most of his younger years in Traverse City. Early on, he found a passion for sports and participated at various points in his school career in soccer, track and basketball. He was also a member of the Traverse City band program and was an accomplished trumpet player, receiving recognition for his musical talent throughout high school. Chris’ first love has always been basketball. He was a varsity player at Traverse City High School and played one year collegiately at Hope College in Holland. He also ran track for one year at Hope.
It was at Hope College that he met his wife, Nancy Conn Collins, when she was a statistician for the Hope College basketball program. Their love of sports generally and basketball specifically bonded them from the beginning. Chris graduated from Hope with an education degree in physical education and social science. He and Nancy were married on July 11, 1992.
Chris’ passion for teaching and coaching basketball led the newly married couple to the small town of White Pine in the Upper Peninsula. There he taught every student in the district physical education and social studies and coached varsity basketball. Their son, Carter, was born in Ironwood in 1994.
Chris and Nancy made the decision to move closer to family and he accepted a physical education and varsity basketball coaching position at Benzie Central High School in 1995. He taught and coached at Benzie for four years and had much success, including a trip to the state basketball semifinal game in 1997. He received regional coach of the year honors as well as other awards during his tenure at Benzie. Their second son, Connor, was born in Traverse City in 1996.
In 1999, Chris and Nancy made their last move to Fowlerville where he was hired as a social studies teacher and varsity basketball coach. Their son, Caden, was born shortly after they moved to Fowlerville in July of 1999. It was a challenge to switch from teaching physical education to social studies, but Chris found the hard work was so rewarding and he was able to inspire countless students to pursue career paths or further study in psychology and sociology. He began teaching AP Psychology seven years ago and his classes always scored incredibly high on the national AP exam. He took great pride in that and was so proud of all his students. Chris coached varsity basketball for three years at Fowlerville and had great success with the program. He ultimately decided to step back and to coach his sons’ teams as they began to play competitively. He coached his sons for many years as they worked their way through the different levels of basketball. He enjoyed nothing more than watching their hard work and successes on the court.
All three of Chris’ sons went on to play a year of collegiate basketball at Hope College. Carter and Connor have gone on to coach at the college level and high school level, respectively. Chris enjoyed watching them coach every game he possibly could and was grateful for the ability to view many of the games online.
Chris enjoyed exercising and took great pride in his physical fitness. He loved watching the NBA and University of Michigan basketball games. He loved his cats and spent lots of time caring for and playing with them. He loved Fowlerville and felt it was his home.
Chris is survived by his wife, Nancy Conn ’91; sons, Carter ’17 (27), Connor ’20 (25) and Caden (22); his parents, Michael and Carolyn, of Traverse City; his siblings, Kathleen Collins (Jonathan Fields), Richard Collins, Deborah Engerson (Frank Snyder), Andrew Collins and Tamara Collins; his brothers-in-law , Jonathan Fields, Brian Conn and Mark Conn; nephews, Daniel Fields, Matthew Fields and Noah Conn; nieces, Maya Fields and Lily Dailey; and numerous aunts; uncles; and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother-in-law, Michael and Judith Conn; sister-in-law, Christi Diaz; nephew, Josh Diaz; and niece, Mackenzie Conn.