BLANTON COLLIER

Blanton Collier was an American football head coach who coached the University of Kentucky between 1954 and 1961 and the Cleveland Browns in the National Football League (NFL) between 1963 and 1970. His 1964 Browns team won the NFL championship and remains the most recent Cleveland team to win a professional sports title. Collier was born in Millersburg, Kentucky to O.H. and Eva (née Long) Collier. He grew up in Paris, KY where he attended Paris High School in Paris, Kentucky, where he played football and basketball. He worked as a tobacco-picker in the summers during high school. After graduating, he enrolled at Kentucky’s Georgetown College, playing on the school’s football team and earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1927. After graduating from Georgetown College, he returned to his old high school to teach and coach sports for 16 years. Collier left the position to join the U.S. Navy in 1943 during World War II. At a naval base outside of Chicago he met Paul Brown, who was coaching a service football team there. After the war, Brown hired Collier as an assistant coach for the Browns, a team under formation in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). After seven years as Brown’s top aide, a span over which the Cleveland team won five league championships, Collier took a job as head football coach at the University of Kentucky in 1954. His Kentucky Wildcats teams amassed a 41–36–3 win-loss-tie record over eight seasons. Several future star coaches served as assistants under Collier at Kentucky, including Don Shula, Chuck Knox, Howard Schnellenberger and Bill Arnsparger. Standout players under Collier included All-Americans Lou Michaels and Schnellenberger. Collier returned to the Cleveland Browns in 1962 and became the team’s head coach from 1963-1970 where he led them to a championship in 1964. During his tenure as coach, he was the NFL Champion in 1950 & 1964, AAFC Champion 1947 & 1948, and SEC Coach of the Year 1954. He is known for the quote: “You can accomplish anything you want as long as you don’t care who gets the credit.”

 

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