|Horned Frog Star Johnny Collins Sprints Into TCU Hall of Fame|
|by Mike Fisher||Mon, Sep 12, 2011, 06:13 AM|
Collins, who will be inducted into the TCU Lettermen’s Hall of Fame on Sept. 15, is proud to be a product of his environment. His late father was a long-time executive at Justin Boots. His mother is the first African-American chosen to serve as the president of the Fort Worth Realtors Association. His huge extended family includes such notable as the late former NBA standout Wayman Tisdale. His wife is the accomplished singer-songwriter Tori Estes.
And his teammates on those Flyin’ Frogs teams that made national headlines during his 1997-2000 stint at the school?
“I consider myself a humble person, but being surrounded by greatness certainly keeps me that way,’’ says Collins, a four-time All-America and the anchor on the 4-x-400 meter national champion in 2000. “I just keep going as fast as I can, trying to keep up.’’
Collins joins fellow Horned Frogs Rebecca Allison (1988, cross country and track), the late Bill Shelton Curtis (’57, football & track and field), Tory Plunkett ('89, tennis), Tracy Simien ('88, football) and Shawn Worthen ('00, football) as this year’s inductees, who will be honored at TCU’s Brown-Lupton University Union.
“We are extremely excited to announce another great Hall of Fame Class,” said Alan Teichelman, TCU Lettermen's Association president. “These highly-decorated athletes are true ambassadors for TCU on and off the field.’’
Collins, a product of O.D. Wyatt High School in Fort Worth, is remembered as a top quarter-miler – but also as an outstanding team leader. That quality has continued in his post-college life, as Johnny and his mother, Helen Collins Epps, personally oversee the charity Touch The Sky Ministry. Collins’ background and education have also made him a success in business; he’s the co-owner of Adobe Title Company, lauded for its work in North Texas and preparing to expand with offices throughout Texas, including in downtown Fort Worth.
“My faith and my family and my roots are all-important to me,’’ says Collins, 33. “Well, all that and sports, of course. I grew up in Ryan Place. I went to Lily B. Clayton Elementary School. I went to Mclean Middle School. One of the things we did for fun is sneak into Amon Carter Stadium and play on that field. TCU was the only place I ever wanted to be.’’
Johnny and Toni are the parents of two children, Justin Finley and Johnny III. And as the kids get a little older, Johnny and Toni are allowed some time to reflect on their so-far accomplishments.
“Toni has been so committed to the kids, and is just now working to get back to her music, which is wonderful,’’ Johnny says. “She’s written hits for Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston and has her own great performances, too. “In my case, the work ethic that I used, and learned in part, at TCU, is still very much a part of what I do. In my work, we’re available to clients at virtually all hours. I know how busy a family can be, so we try to accommodate that. It’s just work ethic. My parents are known for it, and at TCU, because we are a little smaller than some of the other powerhouse schools, we’ve got to work harder.’’
Collins rattles off the names of some of his great Flyin’ Frogs teammates … and then some influences from the Horned Frogs football team, and the TCU academic world. …
“All those people, and many more, are still some of my best friends to this day. My father died of cancer (in 1999) and TCU and its people were there for me then. TCU is, for me, a place of love.’’
Collins was also a football star at O.D. Wyatt High and had offers from major schools all over the country. He never even made an official visit to anywhere but his hometown, though. He remembers with a grin watching Channel 8 anchor Dale Hansen deride his decision to stay in Fort Worth.
“If my dad was alive today,’’ Johnny says, “he’d still want to share a laugh with Dale over that.’’
What Hansen couldn’t know back then, of course, is that Collins was destined to be a symbol of what makes TCU and Fort Worth great.
It’s among the reasons he’s now a Hall-of-Famer.