July 24, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Boys soccer: Dan Collins takes Buckeye helm

YORK TWP. — Dan Collins is no stranger to success on the soccer field.

As a player at Brecksville High School, he was a member of a team that played in the state semifinals. While at Notre Dame College, he helped lead the program to an NAIA quarterfinal appearance.

Now Collins will use that experience as he takes over the reins of Buckeye’s boys soccer team, which is coming off of back-to-back Patriot Athletic Conference championships.

The 25-year-old replaces Joe Serio, who stepped down at the end of last season.

“It’s been my lifelong dream to be a teacher and a coach,” said Collins, who will be teaching history at Buckeye High in the fall. “I’m still in contact with my mentor coaches back at Brecksville and, at the end of the day, if I can teach the game and they enjoy it, I’m happy.”

The Bucks are coming off of a season in which they went 12-5-1 and 8-0-1 en route to capturing their second straight PAC Stars Division crown and posting the top overall record in the two-division league. The team also had the county’s top offense as it netted an eye-popping 82 goals.

While the success of the program is a huge selling point, Collins was more taken by the family-like atmosphere of the school district, which he experienced firsthand as a substitute teacher last year.

So when he was approached by Buckeye Principal Charles Vrabel and assistant Dan Flood about the open position, he found it hard to say no.

“What drew me to Buckeye was that the minute I stepped in the building, I felt at home,” Collins said. “The kids are respectful; it’s a great academic school with strong athletics in a supportive community.”

Collins was a four-year goalkeeper for Brecksville, earning All-Southwestern Conference accolades his senior year as the Bees advanced to the Division I state semis. He then went on to Notre Dame College in South Euclid, where he played four years.

After a stint as goalie coach at Case Western Reserve University, Collins spent this past season as North Royalton’s boys coach. He led the Bears to a 4-10-4 record in the rugged Northeast Ohio Conference.

Now the coach looks to help the Bucks continue their run of success. The program returns a host of talented players led by Medina County leading scorer Ryan Grauel (27 goals in 2012), Dan Oswald and George Rusinko.

“Joe Serio did a great job the last two years and I’m looking to build on the past and continue it,” Collins said. “The boys have been really focused at practice and are ready to get it, specifically with a goal to win the PAC again.”

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.