By any definition, Alan Collis is a big man. He weighs in at 280 pounds well-proportioned on a 6’ 5” frame, the same measurements that he carried when he was a Division II All-American offensive lineman at Carson Newman College in 1998.
Alan will tell you, however, that he was a late bloomer. When he began his football career as a freshman at Fannin County High School in the fall of 1990, he tipped the scales at 150 pounds. During his 9 year gridiron career he just got bigger and better at every stop along the way. His myriad accomplishment during those years have earned Alan a well-deserved membership card in the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2016.
Alan played in both the offensive and defensive lines during his first three years at Fannin County High. When he began his senior season in 1993, new Rebel Coach Joby Scroggs gave Alan a new number and some new assignments. He was assigned jersey # 89 and moved to tight end on offense and linebacker on defense. Scroggs had this to say about Alan; “He has been blessed with size and ability. Alan is very quiet, but he is also an intense player. He loves to hit. When Alan goes full speed all the time, he will be what colleges are looking for”.
The Scroggs assessment of Alan proved prophetic. Alan was named as the Most Valuable Defensive Player at Fannin County High as a senior, and was credited with over 100 tackles during the 1993 campaign.
After the 1993 football season was in the books, assistant football and head wrestling Coach Jerry Barnes encouraged Alan to become a member of the school wrestling team. Alan had no wrestling experience but he had the size, agility and quickness necessary to achieve success in the sport. He made the team and learned enough technique to finish the season with an individual record of 24-6 and an invitation to participate in the state wrestling meet.
Initially, Alan intended to marry Heather Harper, his high school sweetheart whom he had known since their elementary school days at Epworth, go to work and start raising a family after high school graduation. Coach Scroggs again intervened, however, and his advice and assistance to Alan proved to be life-changing. Scroggs felt that Alan was good enough to play collegiate football and used his contacts to arrange for a tryout with the Middle Georgia Junior College Warriors in Cochran, Georgia. Alan was a standout defensive lineman at Middle Georgia and capped off his two year career there with a victory over Hutchinson Kansas Junior College in the Mineral Water Bowl Game in Excelsior Springs, Arkansas in 1995.
Scouts at several colleges including Division II powerhouse Carson-Newman had kept Alan on their radar and came calling when he finished his eligibility at Middle Georgia. With three years of elibigility remaining, Alan was signed to a full football scholarship to Carson-Newman, located in Jefferson City, Tennessee. Alan and Heather, soon to be Mrs. Alan Collis, set out for Jefferson City and the most productive period of Alan’s athletic career.
During his three years at Carson-Newman, Alan Collis accomplished the following:
-Was a three-year starter, one as a defensive lineman and two as an offensive guard.
-Was named to the South Atlantic Conference all-star first team as an offensive lineman in 1997 and 1998.
-Was named to the NCAA Division II all-star Southeast Regional first team in 1998.
-Was elected to the Division II All-American first team in 1998
-Was awarded the prestigious Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the best blocker in the South Atlantic Conference in 1998.
During Alan’s career at the school, Carson-Newman advanced to the semi-finals of the Division II playoffs all three years, including two appearances in the Championship game. In recognition of his magnificent career, Carson-Newman has inducted Alan in to the Carson-Newman College All American Hall of Fame. Longtime Eagles head coach Ken Sparks says that Alan Collis was “an outstanding player. He had very solid character, had strong values and was true to those values. He was extremely dedicated and his dedication paid off”.
After graduation, Alan Collis, the only first team ALL-AMERICAN in any sport in Fannin County history, his wife Heather and their young daughter Alexis returned to the mountains of North Georgia. Twelve years ago, the family grew by two, when twin sons Taylor and Carson came along.
Alan has been involved in some type of coaching every year since he returned to Fannin County. He currently is an assistant coach for the Fannin County High School girls softball team. At various times, he has coached football, wrestling and even cheerleading. He is currently a high school teacher at the Crossroads Alternative School in the Mountain Innovation Program. Heather has an M.A. in English and has taught various English courses at Fannin County High School and is currently the Academic Coach at the school.
It would appear that Alan’s athletic genes have been passed along in abundance to the Collis children. Both boys are up-and-coming wrestlers and daughter Alexis is an outstanding softball player at the University of North Georgia. Alexis was a valuable contributor as a junior as the Nighthawks won the Division II National Championship in 2015, the first national title in school history. She is now a senior at North Georgia and hopes that her team can duplicate their success this season.