Archie Collins, who led a feared defensive backfield for the past four seasons as the defensive backs coach for the Central Michigan football team, has accepted a similar role with the University of Pittsburgh.
Collins' departure follows Sherrone Moore, CMU's assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach who recently accepted the role of tight ends coach with Michigan.
For CMU coach John Bonamego, it signals the Chippewas remain on the right path as they pursue Mid-American Conference championships.
"When we recruit, we tell student-athletes CMU is a place to grow and prepare for a successful life," Bonamego said. "It's the same formula for our young assistant coaches. We hire smart, dedicated professionals who focus on teaching players how to succeed on and off the field. That's our culture. That's our history.
"I'm not surprised Sherrone is in the Big Ten. I'm not surprised Archie is headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference. They made CMU a better place, grew as leaders, and we're proud to see them chase their dreams."
Bonamego said the Chippewas' four consecutive seasons of reaching bowl games and the success of coaches such as Moore and Collins make CMU attractive to assistant coaches. He and his staff expect to begin interviewing candidates after the Feb. 7 signing day.
"That's the nature of this business," Bonamego said. "Michigan and Michigan State have had openings this off-season. So has every Division I program in the state. My philosophy is something I learned from Bob Sutton when I was on his staff at Army: Come here, work hard for CMU student-athletes to give them a great experience. Do that, and if an opportunity comes up that aligns with your goals and helps you better provide for your family, I'll fight for you to get that job."
Bonamego paused in his office, then began to write names on a sheet of paper. Bill Sheridan, Perry Fewell, Mike Sullivan, Darrell Hazell, Tony Oden. Like Bonamego, all were assistants to Sutton at Army in the 1990s who have gone on to NFL assistant coaching careers.
Bonamego was not done. "Mike Locksley is at Alabama as the offensive coordinator," he said. "Ed Warinner just took a job at Michigan. Bob Sutton saw something in all of us, helped us grow. "You see that, and it's only natural to have the same philosophy."
Moore made his mark as a recruiter and by developing Ben McCord and Tyler Conklin into NFL level tight ends. Conklin, who caught a touchdown pass Saturday in the Senior Bowl, had 28 catches for 406 yards and five touchdowns in 2017 even though he missed five games.
Collins also carried the title of defensive passing game coordinator in 2017. CMU's defense tied for third in the nation in turnovers gained with 31 and tied for seventh in interceptions with 19. Senior cornerback Amari Coleman was a two-time First Team All-MAC Defense player and safety Josh Cox, who had six interceptions in 2017, was named to the Second Team All-MAC Defense.