Collins was born in Windsor on January 2, 1943.
Collins was a remarkable athlete from a young age. He attended Victoria Public School, where he was a member of two city champion basketball teams. In 1955, at the age of 12, Collins was a member of the Windsor Choristers Ontario Bantam “A” championship softball team. Collins also played bantam basketball for First Lutheran Church. Coached by Joe Sobocan, he won two Ontario Basketball Association championships.
Collins graduated to Patterson Collegiate, where he became a three-sport star in football, basketball, and track and field.
In his freshman year, Collins led the WSSA Junior Basketball league in scoring en route to the 1957 title.
Collins won 14 total WSSA (4 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze) and WOSSA (2 gold, 4 silver, and 1 bronze) medals during a standout track and field career. He was particularly strong in the throwing events. Collins was a two-time WSSA and WOSSA shot put champion and set records at both meets. He also twice won the WSSA discus event, where he also set a record. Collins took home bronze medals in the shot put and discus events at the 1960 Canadian Juvenile Track and Field Championships.
In his senior year, 1961, Collins won the WSSA football championship and received First-Team All-City recognition in basketball.
Football became Collins’ strongest sport. He achieved First-Team All-City honours in 1958, ’59, and ’60, twice at halfback and once at quarterback.
For his contributions to football, basketball, and track and field, Collins was awarded the 1962 Royal Arcanum trophy, which recognized WSSA’s Most Outstanding Male Athlete. He was also awarded the Windsor B’Nai Brith Athlete-of-the-Year Award.
Collins’ high school performances earned him a full football scholarship at the University of Detroit. Collins played offensive and defensive tackle for the Titans between 1962 and 1965. He was named an All-Catholic All-American in his final year.
Collins entered the Canadian Football League in 1965 as an offensive tackle for the Ottawa Rough Riders. He switched to defensive tackle in his second season, in which he was runner-up for the Eastern Rookie of the Year award. He would remain in that position for the rest of his career.
Collins played for Ottawa between 1965 and ’67. He then spent two difficult seasons with the last-place Winnipeg Blue Bombers before finding his feet with the Montreal Alouettes in 1970. He spent three seasons in Quebec, retiring after the 1972 season.
Collins twice reached the Grey Cup Game. Although his 1966 Ottawa team lost to Saskatchewan 29-14, his 1970 Montreal side defeated Calgary 23-10 to claim Canadian football’s highest honour.
Collins enjoyed a successful second career following his retirement from football. After handing up his cleats, he accepted a teaching position at St. Clair College. Collins was eventually promoted to an Administrative post in the school’s Continuing Education department. Later, he ascended to the position of Director of Student Services for St. Clair’s Chatham campus. He retired from the academic life in 1980.
On the heels of his second retirement, Collins decided to open his own business. He founded Superior Sportswear, a manufacturer of sports apparel specializing in team uniforms.