Southern Illinois University Edwardsville stayed in-house when looking for a replacement for longtime baseball coach Gary "Bo" Collins.
Collins' longtime assistant, Tony Stoecklin, has been named the school's acting head coach. On Wednesday, Collins switched job titles and moved from baseball coach to director of development for Cougar athletics.
Collins guided the Cougars to a 1,028-766-7 record in 34 seasons.
"He had a unique approach, he was an extreme competitor, one of the most extreme competitors I've ever met," SIUE Athletic Director Brad Hewitt said of Collins. "It was never about the benchmarks or the records or anything like that, although I know the 1,000 wins was very important to him."
Hewitt said he was grateful that Collins presided over the team's transition to Division I status over the past three seasons.
"It was such a benefit to the program not to go into transition with a new coach," Hewitt said. "To have the stability and to maintain the recruiting ties and everything else through the process was very important. Baseball had one of the most competitive processes over the last two years of the transition, so it really paid off."
Hewitt said Collins had already gained previous fundraising experience, which should help in his new position.
"The more he thought about it, the more he got excited about it," Hewitt said. "It gives somebody that was part of our history and part of our tradition a chance to continue. He has that built-in relationship and that's the key to fundraising.
"It gives him an opportunity to travel a little bit and see people that he used to see once a year at best."
Besides being on the same coaching staff for the past 13 seasons, both Stoecklin and Collins are Roxana natives. Stoecklin also pitched at SIUE under Collins in 1991 and 1992 and helped the 1991 Cougars reach the Division II College World Series.
After college, Stoecklin was a 23rd round pick by the Atlanta Braves in 1992. He spent three seasons in their organization and nine years overall in professional baseball.
Hewitt said Stoecklin has an opportunity to show what he can do.
"There's no set plan about what we're going to do," Hewitt said when asked if the head coaching position would be opened again. "We'll see how it goes and we'll probably evaluate as the year goes on. He has been an integral part to our program; he's been our primary recruiter and the returning core of kids we have coming back we hope will be very competitive, they are his recruits.
"It's very logical to move him into that role, see how the kids react to him."
Former Edwardsville High and Wichita State star Danny Jackson will remain on staff as the Cougars' hitting coach.
Contact reporter Norm Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2454.