ANGOLA – Trine University inducted J.D. Collins into its Athletic Hall of Fame at Saturday's men's basketball game.
Collins is a 1983 graduate of Tri-State who currently serves as the NCAA's national coordinator of men's basketball officiating, a position he was named to in 2015. One of Collins' two main focuses is to identify, select and advance the 100 best officials in the country to referee the NCAA tournament. His other priority is to work with coordinators and officials on how they call games, and educate fans and media on the rules of college basketball.
The seeds for Collins' career in officiating were planted when he took an officiating class taught by then-basketball Coach Dick Hack. He applied for a state high school officiating license as part of the class and began refereeing intramural games at Tri-State.
After graduating, Collins went to work in the engineering department at Hartford Concrete Products, but continued refereeing on the side. Collins refereed high school basketball for three years, then spent several years working small-college basketball.
Collins eventually earned the opportunity to work NCAA Division I basketball games, where he was an official for 19 years. During that time, Collins served as a referee in 10 NCAA Tournaments, including one Final Four. Collins refereed Division I games full-time until a knee injury forced him to the sideline during the 2009-10 season.
Following his injury, Collins went to work as an administrator, serving as a consultant to the Big Ten Conference men's basketball officiating program. Collins later became the officiating coordinator for the Summit League and the Mid-American Conference prior before earning the NCAA position.
Collins, a native of Bluffton, is married to Jenny (Sprunger) Collins, a 1984 Tri-State graduate. The couple reside in Hartford City.