High School Sports

D'Iberville hires Pearl River Central's Eric Collins as football coach

 Former Pearl River Central head football coach Eric Collins has been hired at D'Iberville.
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD Former Pearl River Central head football coach Eric Collins has been hired at D'Iberville. SUN HERALD

D'Iberville has turned to another Coast school to fill its football coaching vacancy.

The Harrison County School Board approved Monday the recommendation of Pearl River Central coach Eric Collins to replace Buddy Singleton as D'Iberville's coach.

"D'Iberville has a tremendous football tradition. That has a lot to do with it, as well as having the opportunity to coach in 6A. Those two things put me over the top with the job," Collins said. "I'm just looking forward to the challenge. It's a new chapter in my life."

Collins, 57, has had plenty of success in six seasons at PRC.

The former Tupelo coach took over the Blue Devils program coming off of an 0-11 season and ended up compiling a 42-31 record in Carriere. Twice Collins led PRC to 11-win campaigns, including last year when the Blue Devils surged to the top of Region 4-5A. PRC also played for Class 5A South State titles in 2011 and '12 under Collins' guidance.

"I want to give credit to the kids. PRC has tough, hard nosed, hard working kids," Collins said. "Anytime you're willing to work like they worked, that's going to breed success, so I give credit to the kids."

Other coaching stops for Collins have included Louisiana schools Archbishop Hannan, Jesuit and Chalmette (La.).

At D'Iberville, Collins will be asked to lead a program that clinched a playoff berth in the final seconds of its regular season finale but ended up losing at Brandon in the first round.

Prior to the 2015 season, which saw an inconsistent Warriors team slip to 6-7, D'Iberville had posted four straight nine-win seasons.

Singleton led D'Iberville from 1965-87 and then returned in 2008 to coach the Warriors for the next eight seasons. Including seven years at St. John, Singleton compiled a career record of 298-132-3.

Coaching carousel

D'Iberville is the third Coast school to hire a new coach this offseason with Bay, Stone and now PRC all open. Earlier this offseason, George County hired Taylorsville's Matt Caldwell to replace John Douglass and West Harrison promoted former defensive coordinator Tracy Rogers to take over for Sean Harden. Bay High and Stone remain open after Tigers coach Jeff Hopgood left to join Rocky Gaudin's staff at Hancock and Adam Stone resigned at Stone.