Clarion University Football: Head Coach Monica Announces Addition to Coaching Staff
Pete Collins, a veteran college assistant with more than 15 years of experience, was named as the team’s offensive coordinator, while Josh Hager – himself a coaching veteran of nearly 20 years – was named the team’s defensive coordinator.
“I am excited to welcome both Pete and Josh to the staff,” Monica said. “Over the years they have both shown they have what it takes to be successful coaches at the college level, and I’m looking forward to them working with our student-athletes.”
About Pete Collins
Collins spent the 2021 season working as the co-offensive coordinator at Centennial High School, but before that had previously spent 15 years as an assistant coach at the NCAA Division I and III levels. Most recently, he worked with the wide receivers and tight ends at Illinois from 2018-21, as well as a stint as the interim running backs coach in 2020. One of the highlights that year came on Nov. 21, when two Illini running backs – Mike Epstein and Chase Brown – broke the 100-yard rushing mark against Nebraska.
Before his stint at Illinois, Collins was the associate head coach and offensive coordinator – among other responsibilities – at Division III Becker College, working there from 2016-18. Working with head coach Frank Forcucci, Collins also organized and installed special teams gameplans. From 2013-16 Collins was on the staff at Florida International, coaching the wide receivers group in 2015 and also assisting with developing the quarterbacks. He was the program’s primary recruiter in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. He also served as an offensive assistant at Rutgers (2010-13), Northeastern (2009-10), and Delaware Valley (2007-09). Collins got his start in the coaching field in 2006, working as an operations intern for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.
Collins graduated from the University of Mary Washington in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies, with an emphasis on Secondary Education and Political Science. He went on to earn his Masters in Recreation and Sport Management from Florida International in 2015.
Coach Monica on Pete Collins: “I’m very impressed with Pete and his background, including his success at the Division I level. The thing that sets him apart, and what he excels at, is that he is a very good teacher. It did not take long for me to recognize that he was the kind of coach we wanted to add to our program.”
About Josh Hager
Hager comes to Clarion after spending the 2021 season as the defensive coordinator at Division III Alvernia. Under Hager’s guidance, linebacker Tajon Whiten finished second on the team and seventh in the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) with 72 total tackles on the season, including five tackles for loss 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
Prior to his time at Alvernia, Hager was the defensive coordinator at Division II Missouri Southern from 2019-to 2020. In 2019, the Lions featured the top two tacklers in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) in Richard Jordan, Jr. (10.9 tackles/game) and Colton Winder (8.6 tackles/game). Winder finished second in all of NCAA Division II in tackles per game by a freshman that year.
Before coming to Missouri Southern, Hager led the Garden City Community College defense from 2016-18. In 2018 the Broncbuster defense was the top scoring defense in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC). The team earned an appearance in the NJCAA National Championship game, where the Broncbusters held East Mississippi Community College’s offense out of the end zone for the first time in 11 years while also limiting EMCC to 1-13 on third down. In 2016 the Broncbuster defense finished first in the NJCAA and propelled the team to the 2016 National Championship. It was the first time in program history GCCC finished as the top defense in the country and the first time a KJCCC school finished in the top spot. In 2016 the defense forced 35 takeaways and in 2017 the defense forced 33 takeaways that resulted in five touchdowns on the way to the El Toro Bowl (2016) and the Heart of Texas Bowl (2017).
In his career, Hager coached one national Defensive Player of the Year, two conference Defensive Players of the Year, two conference Defensive Linemen of the Year, 11 All-Americans, 41 First Team All-Conference players, and one first-round draft pick in Mike Hughes (Minnesota Vikings – 2018).
Before his time at GCCC, Hager was the defensive coordinator at Saint Vincent College from 2014-to 2016. The Bearcats boasted the top pass defense in the Presidents Athletic Conference (PAC) and reduced their scoring defense average by more than 10 points per game, and snapped a 22-game losing streak leading up to Hager’s arrival in Latrobe. Prior to that, Hager was the associate head coach and defensive coordinator at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisc from 2012 to 2013. The Green Knights won the Midwest Conference (MWC) championship and earned a berth in the NCAA Division III Football playoffs during both of his seasons. In 2013, St. Norbert ranked first in the MWC in total defense, giving up 308.0 yards, and scoring defense, allowing 16.1 points.
Prior to St. Norbert, Hager spent time at a pair of NCAA Division II schools, the University of Minnesota-Crookston, and Michigan Tech. He served as the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator for four seasons at Michigan Tech before taking over as defensive coordinator at Crookston for one season. He also spent time at Central Connecticut State, the University of Mary, St. Louis Park High School, Valley City State University & Dickinson State University.
Hager earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Teaching and Education from Valley City State University in 1998. He later went on to earn a Master of Science in Secondary School Administration/Principalship from the University of Mary in 2005.
Coach Monica on Josh Hager: “I’ve known Josh for a long time, and he comes from a rich football family tradition. His father Rocky Hager was the head coach at North Dakota State where he won two national championships. He’s been brought up with football all his life, and he’s done an excellent job everywhere he’s been. He’s also won a national championship as a coach. He brings a lot of knowledge and passion for the game.”
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