Legendary Eagles coach Collins dies

Jan. 7—PAINTSVILLE — Former Johnson Central and Morehead State baseball figure Mike Collins, a member of multiple Halls of Fame who reached the minor leagues, died Friday. He was 77.

Collins was inducted into the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1999 — its third class — and the Morehead State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.

Collins attended Van Lear before matriculating to Morehead State, where he was a three-time all-Ohio Valley Conference selection as a catcher. He hit .350 with 17 home runs as an Eagle from 1964-67.

Collins went on to play in the Phillies and Mets organizations before returning home to be a coach and an educator at Johnson Central. He skippered the Golden Eagles to 492 victories and four 15th Region Tournament titles from 1981-2004.

Current Johnson Central coach Shawn Hall played for Collins and later joined him in the KHSBCA Hall of Fame in 2022.

"Coach Collins made Johnson Central baseball what it is today," Hall said Friday. "He was respected as a player, coach and educator. He made connections and was well-known wherever he went throughout the baseball community.

"As a former player and friend, he will be missed by many."

Phelps, a Flat Gap resident, died at Paintsville ARH Hospital, according to an obituary from Phelps & Son Funeral Home, where arrangements were incomplete Friday night.