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Tim Collins stands on the turf field behind Big Foot High School earlier this year.

WALWORTH, Wis.—Tim Collins put in 20 years at Big Foot High School.

That doesn’t mean he’s ready to simply ride off into the sunset.

Collins had an unceremonious departure from Big Foot thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he wasn’t in a spot to do much complaining.

“It certainly wasn’t what I expected it to be after 34 years total of working in high school,” Collins said. “But guess what? It wasn’t what our seniors expected to do, either.”

Collins said he was going to stick around to deal with the transition.

“I’m not going to just turn and walk away now,” Collins said. “I’m going to stick around and help. I’ve worked too hard at this place to walk away. I’m officially an ambassador for the school, which means if anyone wants to come and see the new facilities, I give them a tour.”

Collins came to Big Foot in 1999 and several people question his sanity as to why he would make such a move.

“I had many people, including some locals here, ask why I would come to Big Foot,” Collins said. “I was told that they never win. Well, I researched it and they had won 38 total conference titles in the 56 years they had been open as a school. In the 21 years since, we’ve got over 60. So I’m really proud of the success we’ve had.”

Collins said there was no mystery as to how he accomplished this feat.

“It’s all about putting the right people in the right spots,” Collins said. “And then getting the hell out of the way. I’m here to help if they need it, but otherwise I let them do the thing I hired them to do.”

Rodney Wedig was one of those hires. Wedig eventually led the Chiefs to the 2009 WIAA state title.

“That was the highlight of my time here,” Collins said. “And the main reason for that was my son Kyle was the starting center on that team, so to be able to share that with him was incredible.”

Another highlight came just last year, when Collins shepherded the facility renovation program that resulted in the Chiefs’ having a brand new football field among other projects.

“That was my goal for well over 10 years,” Collins said. “We were badly in need of a new facility. But without Doug Parker, who is our district administrator, we never would’ve gotten it done. He saw through the referendum process, and with his knowledge and my contacts, we got it done.”

Collins served in a number of roles at the school, including stepping in recently as the head boys basketball coach.

“Nobody else wanted to do it at the time,” Collins said. “As athletic director, you’ve got to step in sometimes and do it yourself, especially at a small school. I’ve done cross country for about the last 10 years, and I served as a volunteer track coach for seven years. I came back this year as a paid assistant for the first time since my first year. That lasted all of a week before we got shut down. Personally, I don’t believe you can be a good AD unless you get your hands dirty and see what coaching is all about. I never looked at myself as an administrator. I’m a coach and a teacher first.”