Football Friday Preview: Ernie Willingham returns to the sidelines at Collinsville

Football Friday

RAINESVILLE, Ala. – A familiar face has returned to the sidelines for the Collinsville Football team in 2021. The Panthers were one of many teams that spoke at Dekalb and Jackson County Media Day in Rainesville.

Daniel Garrett led Collinsville in 2020, but in early July, he got the opportunity of a lifetime. Garrett took the same position at Rogers, which happens to be the place he graduated from. Garrett’s departure left a vacancy within the Panther program, and Ernie Willingham came to the rescue. The long time head coach came out of retirement to take over as Collinsville’s head coach for a third time.

Willingham shared the funny story of how the hiring process went about.

“The principal called and he actually asked what I thought and I said you need to open it up find somebody good and hit a home run,” said Willingham, who coached Collinsville from 1998-2002, and again from 2013-2019. “He said what if I can’t find anybody this late? I said call me back, and then he put out a press release that I had the job before he even called me back so I guess that how it came about.”

Just like that, Willingham was named the head coach yet again.

“I’m tickled to be back,” added Willingham. “I didn’t quit because I didn’t love football or these boys I had some health problems.”

Willingham and the Panthers open the season August 20th against Section.

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