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Collins returns to alma mater to become Northern Colorado head coach

Greeley, CO (Sports Network) - Earnest Collins, Jr. has been named the new head football coach at Northern Colorado.

He takes over for Scott Downing, who finished 9-47 during his five years running the program.

Collins served the last two seasons as the head coach at Alcorn State, where he guided the Braves to a combined 8-12 mark.

He is the first former Bears player to return as the head mentor and is the school's single-season record holder in punt return yardage and is second all- time in career punt return yardage.

"I am very excited to reintroduce Earnest Collins to the University of Northern Colorado football family as the new head football coach," director of athletics Jay Hinrichs said. "Coach Collins certainly has UNC ties. He played - holds records - and coached as a member of past Bears teams. He knows Colorado recruiting and believes there is a wealth of football talent in this state. His teams have always brought a style of play that is physical and exciting for fans to watch."

Collins was an assistant with the Bears from 2000-03 when he served as the secondary and special teams coach.

12/28 20:25:29 ET