Charles H. Collins, 66, of Smyrna, was hit by 25-year-old Nicholas W. Bryant of Carrollton, who was driving south in a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado, just before 7 p.m. Thursday. Collins was taken to Emory Adventist Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Bryant is not expected to be charged.
According to McEachern High School athletic director Jim Dorsey, Collins was the head football coach at the south Cobb school from 1976 and 1982, but did not leave the school until around 1984.
“He retired from coaching but stayed on as a teacher for two years,” Dorsey said. “He was a history teacher here.”
Dorsey said he got to know the former coach pretty well when they taught together, but even more through Collins’ son, Jeff, who played football under the former head coach.
“His children went to school here, his son played football for me, their daughters were cheerleaders … football was just very much a part of his life,” Dorsey said. “They are just a neat family and real dynamic group of people.”
Dorsey said Collins’ first wife died about 10 years ago after a battle with cancer, and Collins remarried.
“He actually lived one street over from me,” Dorsey said. “When his wife died, he moved into a townhouse in Smyrna. He married a real nice lady, and the kids have just loved her to death.”
He couldn’t recall Collins’ second wife’s name.
Another McEachern legend, Coach Dave Westerfield, who retired in 2004 after coaching basketball for 20 years at the school, has known Collins since 1984.
“He was just a fine Christian man and a fine human being,” he said. “We were real good friends, not that we ran around all the time together, but we were very, very good friends.”
Westerfield said his son, Andrew, played baseball alongside Jeff Collins in high school.
He also said Collins was involved in Athletes in Action, and worked with the Atlanta Falcons football team for some time serving as a chaplain.
“He was just a very, very religious person,” Westerfield said. “Everything he did, he tried to do the right thing.”
Falcons spokesman Matt Haley said Collins was a chaplain with the team between the mid-1980s to 2008.