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West Charlotte to name former NFL lineman and alumnus Mo Collins its next football coach

By Langston Wertz Jr.
lwertz@charlotteobserver.com
2758137JF_D013887008
Jonathan Ferrey - Getty Images
Oakland Raiders lineman Mo Collins (79) looks on from the bench during a 2003 game against the Denver Broncos.

Former West Charlotte High All-America football player Mo Collins will be the Lions’ next football coach, a source close to the situation told the Observer.

On Thursday, West Charlotte officials emailed a press release to media announcing a 3 p.m. news conference on Friday to name the school’s new coach. Marcus Surratt resigned as West Charlotte coach on Dec. 6.

“We are looking to an exciting start to rebuilding the mighty Lions program, paying homage to the past and embracing (and) empowering the young men for the future,” West Charlotte athletics director Chris Satterfield said in the news release.

Collins will be West Charlotte’s seventh coach in 14 seasons. From 1980-99, West Charlotte had two . Bruce Hardin coached from 1980-88 and led the Lions to two state championship appearances. Tom Knotts coached from 1989-99 and led West Charlotte to three state appearances and the school’s only N.C. 4A state championship in 1995. Collins played for Knotts. After he started his professional career, Collins paid for a new weight room at the high school.

Since 2000, West Charlotte has had six coaches: Mike Helms (6-5, 2000 season), Pete Gilchrist (50-29, 2001-06), Maurice Flowers (0-14-1, 2007), Aaron Brand (9-4, 2008), Jeff Simpson (5-7, 2009) and Surratt. Surratt coached for four seasons. His first team, in 2010, was 8-5. West Charlotte has been 5-28 since.

Gilchrist led the Lions to the 2006 4A state finals and Flowers took West Charlotte to the 2007 N.C. 4AA semifinals, but Flowers’ team had to forfeit its wins because of an ineligible player.

Collins coached under Surratt this season and was popular among players, parents, fans and alumni, sources told the Observer.

Collins was an all-star high school player. In 1993, the Observer named him a top five reruit in the state. Collins played at Florida, under current South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, and was a member of the Gators’ 1996 national championship team. He graduated with a degree in sports adminstration. Collins, a first-round pick by Oakland, had a seven-year pro career, and played for the Raiders in the 2003 Super Bowl against Tampa Bay.

Wertz: 704-358-5133; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr
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