Assistant baseball coach Chris Collins is leaving Lipscomb University at the end of this season to take on a new challenge in his life.
Collins and his family will be moving to Tucson, Ariz., where he will serve as a full-time minister for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at high schools and colleges in the area.
He was first asked to take on the new role in his native Tucson last November.
"I will be what they call a field staff member," Collins said. "I will be facilitating Bible studies and retreats for coaches and huddle groups. I will also be working with the chaplain program with the high schools, the University of Arizona and Pima Community College.
"That will be the essence of what I will be doing. I have 10 years of coaching experience I can share. I will be a pastor to coaches. I will be working mainly with men's sports through discipling and helping them understand what it means to be a mentor and a coach and how they can impact their players in a Christ-like manner."
Chris, and his wife, Sharon, have always trusted in God to guide their futures.
"My wife and I have always been in the frame of mind where we are continually praying and talking and looking at what we are doing and why we are doing it," Collins said. "When we made the decision a few years back to leave Trevecca and come to Lipscomb it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. We felt like God was in it."
The last couple of years Collins started thinking about the number of nights he was away from Sharon and children, Cason and Kaylyn, due to road games and recruiting trips.
"Being an assistant coach at the Division I level is a grind," Collins said. "You have to make a lot of sacrifices to do your job well.
"I was leaving a 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter at home between 50 and 60 nights a year between recruiting and games. At some point I needed to decide if that was the route I wanted to travel for the rest of my professional career or did I need to reassess my situation. And that's what we did."
So Sharon and Chris once again started to pray and talk about what the future might have in store for them.
"It was not that we were unhappy or that we were in a spot where we weren't being fruitful or that we were not making a difference or an impact or anything like that," Collins said.
Collins played for current Lipscomb baseball coach Jeff Forehand in his senior year at Trevecca Nazarene. He spent time as an assistant coach under Forehand at Trevecca before eventually making the move to Lipscomb.
“It is tough on me because I am not only losing my assistant coach, but I am losing my best friend,” Forehand said of their relationship that has been built over the past nine years. “He is taking off and that is really hard because our families are really close.
“Chris has never been one to be on the fence. He knows what the Lord has asked him to do. We are supportive of that, but he is going to be missed.”
Forehand must also fill Collins’ role on the field where his specialty was working with the Bisons on their hitting skills.
“Chris is such a dynamic personality,” Forehand said. “He is a natural leader. He knows the game so well.
“He is a really, really good hitting instructor. Our philosophies have been somewhat similar. We have developed a lot of things together. And with his baseball mind he has challenged me.”
Collins has big plans for his ministry and he is confident t hat the Lord will provide what is needed.
"We want to be able to drive all over southern Arizona and to get in front of coaches and athletes," Collins said. “We want to be able to provide materials for coaches and their Bible studies and small group sessions. We want to make sure that everybody in an FCA huddle group has access to a Bible or to materials they may need when they become a Christian."
Collins admits his plans are ambitious, but he thinks that God wants him to take massive action.
"That is one of the things that has been driven home to me since November," Collins said. "The one thing you don't want to do is dream small.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations