High School Football

Lancaster Bruins will name interim head coach after Bobby Collins’ departure

Bobby Collins has guided Lancaster to the playoff in each of his three seasons at the school.
Bobby Collins has guided Lancaster to the playoff in each of his three seasons at the school.

The Lancaster Bruins are looking for a new head football coach after Bobby Collins was announced as the new head man at Marlboro County.

The Marlboro County school district tweeted the news late Monday afternoon. Collins said that he’ll start at Marlboro on April 22. He’ll get the opportunity to coach the school’s football team and be its athletic director, something he’s not sure could have happened in Lancaster County.

“Everybody’s invested in trying to make sure athletics get to the next level,” Collins said. “One school in the county. I grew up in a one-school town-kind of atmosphere.”

Collins took over Lancaster’s program in 2014 and went 30-25 over the next five seasons, reaching the playoffs four out of five years. Collins was an offensive lineman at South Carolina State and his Lancaster teams became known for their bruising offensive style.

“He definitely had an impact on the football program,” said Lancaster athletic director Mark Strickland. “I think he’s a heck of a football coach. He got the kids and the town energized. Naturally, we would have liked to have won a few more playoff games, but I think we were headed in the right direction, doing the right things to get better.”

Strickland is retiring at the end of this school year, after 39 years in education. But he said that he’ll tag an interim head coach before he departs.

Lancaster had three former head coaches on staff last season - offensive coordinator Ed Susi (formerly Fort Mill head coach), defensive coordinator Bill Geiler (former Independence head coach) and assistant Kenneth Schofield (former Great Falls head coach) - and it’s possible one of those three will get the interim head job through the 2019 season, at least.

“I’ve already put that ball in motion,” Strickland said.

What would happen after that wouldn’t be up to Strickland, who will be out of the AD position. But it’s possible that, with success, the interim coach could be made the full-time head coach. Again, that decision would be up to Strickland’s successor and Lancaster’s administration.

Collins told his Bruins players Monday that he was leaving. He departs Lancaster one month before 2019 spring football practice starts. Marlboro County’s head football coaching position opened when Dean Boyd took the head job at York Comprehensive High School in February.

Collins came to Lancaster from Hough High School, in Cornelius, N.C., where he had a successful stint starting that school’s football program. Lancaster went four seasons without a winning campaign before Collins’ first year in charge of the Bruins, an 8-4 season. Collins is a Sumter native.

“Coaching at Lancaster, you’re coaching behind two Hall of Famers in Johnny Roscoe and Bennie McMurray,” said Collins. “Both of those guys, whenever you pick up the phone they’ll talk to you about life and football. I enjoyed my tenure at Lancaster High School. It was just a great opportunity for me and my family.”

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