Collins Hill’s boys basketball program will have a new leader.
Eric Nathan was preparing for next season when he got the word from athletic director Jason Dopson that a change was being made as head boys basketball coach. The Eagles now have two basketball openings — girls head coach Paula Skinner resigned in late February.
“We appreciate Eric’s contribution and hard work the last three years but decided to take our boys basketball program in another direction,” Dopson said.
Nathan, who led Collins Hill’s boys to the state playoffs once in his three seasons, said the decision came as a surprise. He has coached in the program for eight seasons, five as an assistant to Josh Grayson and the past three as head coach.
“I really appreciate my time here,” said Nathan, who worked previously as an assistant at Shiloh under his former Woodward Academy coach, Tony Watkins. “I appreciate the opportunity Mr. (Glenn) McFall (former Collins Hill principal) and Mr. (Roland) Wallace (former Collins Hill athletic director) gave me. I’m sorry to see it end the way it did. Like any coach, I wish I had more time.”
Collins Hill returned no starters for Nathan’s first season as head coach and went 9-17, but rebounded to 17-12 in his second season. The Eagles finished 13-13 in 2013-14.
“I’m pretty proud of what we’ve done,” Nathan said. “We went from sixth in the region to fourth in the region to third in the region in my three years there. The kids I had played hard, behaved themselves on and off the court and represented the school well. They’ve been great for me. I’m very proud of them and their work and dedication.”
With the news still fresh, Nathan said he wasn’t sure of his next step. He wants to be a head coach again, but hasn’t decided on his future and didn’t know much about other openings at this point.
“(The players) reacted the same way I reacted, the same reaction I got when I told our assistant coaches, it was shock,” Nathan said. “I don’t think they saw it coming. I didn’t see it coming.”